GVSU beats Merrimack, falls at Saint Anselm

GVL/Bo Anderson

Ali Dixon

GVL/Bo Anderson Ali Dixon

Adam Knorr

While many Grand Valley State University teams traveled south to the sunny beaches of Florida, the lacrosse team made the lax-crazy Northeast its spring break destination.

It was an up-and-down trip for the Lakers, who appear to be searching for an early-season identity as one cohesive unit through five games in 2014.

“We have moments of brilliance, but we haven’t been able to string 60 minutes together yet this season,” head coach Alicia Groveston said.

GVSU bussed into Massachusetts early in the week and, after two days of practice and sightseeing, put together one of its best games of the year at Merrimack College on Thursday.

The Lakers took a commanding 5-1 lead into halftime and picked up where it left off in the second stanza. When the final whistle blew, the Lakers found themselves on the favorable side of a 13-3 outcome.

A pair of midfielders, sophomore Carolyn Kraus and senior Meagan Emery, led the attack with three goals apiece.

Six other Lakers added to the goal total while nine different players recorded points for GVSU. Freshman goaltender Sarah Zwilsky made big saves when she needed to, and the team outshot Merrimack by a lopsided tally of 33-14.

“Everyone played, and everyone played well,” Groveston said. “We’re learning to work smarter.”

The team then traveled to Saint Anselm College for an opportunity to avenge a 19-9 loss suffered a season ago in Manchester, N.H.

Any hopes GVSU had of redemption were quickly suffocated by the Saint Anselm defenders on Saturday, though, as the Lakers were handed a 14-8 defeat.

Junior attacker Victoria Devine opened the scoring to give GVSU a 1-0 lead, but the Hawks scored the next eight goals in a 14-minute span.

GVSU did its best to mount a comeback in the second half, but the deficit proved to be insurmountable.

“We didn’t play to our full potential, especially on the offensive end,” junior midfielder Rachel Leibovitz said. “We all know what it takes and how to do it. We practice our game plan, and if we had executed it would have been a different game.”

GVSU (2-3) was led by a trio of midfielders offensively as freshmen Kira Dosenberry and Ryan Skomial scored two goals apiece along with junior Brooke Ingraham.

The team managed to stay close in most statistical categories but was outshot 31-28 and committed four more turnovers.

“We need to focus as a unit and we need to work on making each other look good and not just ourselves,” junior captain Sarah Lowe said. “We need to work harder as a unit on the offensive side.”

The team will use its practice time this week to shape up for a pair of road contests at New Haven University on Saturday and Bloomsburg University on Sunday.

GVSU is scheduled to play on its home turf for the first time this season against Roberts Wesleyan College on March 31.