GVSU nets 24 in thorough debut

GVL/Kevin Sielaff

GVL/Kevin Sielaff

GVL/Kevin Sielaff

Mark Washburn

New season, same result for the Grand Valley State men’s club lacrosse team.

After winning the 2014 Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association (MCLA) National Championship, No. 2 GVSU started the season with a 24-3 win over Saginaw Valley State on Friday night in Allendale.

“We were just excited about the opportunity to get back on the field and outside,” said sophomore Lucas Gerard. “Awesome that we had a bunch of fans come out, so it’s a great start to the season.”

GVSU’s offense started hot, netting nine goals in the first quarter.

Captain Zack Grusell began the scoring assault with a snipe from the left side 2:26 into the game before Conor Schwalm and Seth Kuehnl added two goals apiece later in the first quarter.

“Offensively, we are very talented and very deep, we forced a tempo and style of play,” said coach Tim Murray. “From a space standpoint, we supported the ball when it needed support and allowed room to dodge…We really just wanted to see where our matchup advantage was and attack that.”

And attack they did. The bombardment continued well into the second quarter when sophomore captain Tyler Shear found the back of the net four times.

“Shear played awesome running all over the field getting open and he was easy to find for a lot of goals,” Gerard said. “He caught the ball and put it in the back of the net.”

Shear scored three goals in a row for the Lakers, including two from Gerard in a 20-second span.

“Luke and I are good friends,” Shear said. “We were really clicking tonight, he had great field vision and I was cutting through and finding good lanes.”

Gerard, Erick Sundstrom and Jake Kippola all contributed two goals in the second quarter to round out the 10 second-quarter goals. Kippola finished with four goals and an assist on the day.

“Jake had a great game for us,” Murray said. “This was the first start of his career and he is really adopting to his new role on the team.”

The second half saw fewer goals, only five total, giving the Lakers 24 on the day.

SVSU finished with three goals, two by freshman Ryan Reynolds and another by Ben Quinno.

This is SVSU’s first year in the MCLA.

“Hats off to SVSU,” Gerard said. “They are a first-year program in the MCLA and they gave it their all. It wasn’t that long ago when Grand Valley was just starting up in that same spot.”

GVSU has come a long way since then, but recently dropped to No. 2 in the MCLA DII poll despite its 0-0 record.

“This just gives us a little extra motivation,” Murray said.

The Lakers take on three of the top five teams in the nation at the end of the month, playing three games in three days. The Lakers square off with No. 4 St. Thomas on March 27, No. 7 St. Johns on March 28 and No. 3 North Dakota State on March 29. All games will be played in South Barrington, Ill.