Freshmen fuel emerging team

GVL / Archive
The Womens Lacrosse team, lead by freshman Sarah Lowe (16), have found earlier succes with their youth.

GVL Archives

GVL / Archive The Womens Lacrosse team, lead by freshman Sarah Lowe (16), have found earlier succes with their youth.

Jon Van Zytveld

During its inaugural season, the Grand Valley State University women’s lacrosse team (4-4) has steadily improved its skills, an effect which GVSU coach Alicia Groveston attributes to the emergence of the freshmen as a force to be reckoned with.

“The freshmen have done a good job adapting,” she said. “There have been mental errors and hiccups, but for the most part they have exceeded our expectations. They are getting to the point where they are comfortable and confident making decisions on the fly and holding one another accountable.”

While the Laker freshmen have not had an easy path so far this year, they all agree that being a varsity athlete has been one of the best decisions of their lives.

“Creating a new program has, at times, been very frustrating, but it is worth every minute,” said freshman midfielder Jordan Luberto. “Being a new team, we are still trying to get into our own rhythm and create new traditions, but I definitely think we are on our way to creating a really good thing.”

However, with the high success rate of Laker sports, the young players felt a certain amount of pressure to live up to the GVSU standard.

“As far as making a new program goes, it definitely puts a lot of pressure on the whole team,” said freshman midfielder Alyssa Neuman. “We want to go out and prove to everyone how good of a team we are. With Grand Valley being such a great athletic school, we want to keep that going with the development of our program.”

Coming out of high school, several of the Laker freshmen had a learning curve to conquer before they could truly expect to succeed in college varsity sports.

“It was a bit difficult at first but I sort of expected it,” Luberto said. “It is a huge commitment, and it’s hard missing out on some social stuff, but it is definitely worth it. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Despite the challenges, the new Lakers have found the lacrosse team to be a mutually beneficial experience. Neuman found that being a member of a varsity team has improved her academic life significantly, pushing her to excel as a Laker, both on the field and in the classroom.

“With the amount that we travel and practice, it really has forced me to become a better time manager and really put my study skills into a good use,” she said. “Without learning to manage my time and keeping a good grade point average, I wouldn’t be able to play, so lacrosse has really helped me to keep motivated to be successful in the classroom as well as the field.”

As the team return to the road this weekend for games in Colorado and Ohio, the freshmen are expected, like the rest of the team, to perform to the best of their ability and to demonstrate their passion for lacrosse.

As they do so, Groveston said, they will be building the foundation for an already strong program.

“The amazing thing has been, and will continue to be, watching them improve together,” Groveston said. “That is the greatest thing for us, and the most significant. We have a core group of young ladies who are helping us write history and create our own tradition. What they create now will always be the foundation for Grand Valley lacrosse.”

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