Neumen nets six as Lakers win at home

Nick DeMaagd

As the snow whipped across the field, the Grand Valley State women’s lacrosse team did the same against Fort Lewis.

GVSU controlled the game on both sides of the ball against the Skyhawks on Thursday, claiming its first home win of the season, 16-5, on a chilly night in Allendale. 

The difference in play for the Lakers since Tuesday’s loss to No. 3 Lindenwood was night and day. 

The offense, which managed to start a running clock with just over eight minutes left to play, never stopped attacking, and the defense came up with big plays all night. 

GVSU finished with more shots on goal (26-14), ground balls (30-21) and draw controls (13-10).

“I wasn’t too happy with how we played in the first half,” said GVSU coach Alicia Groveston. “We did some good things just not often enough. They worked hard in the second half and it made the difference.”

The difference between halves showed, as the team scored 10 of its goals in the second stanza.

Sophomore midfielder Erika Neumen continued her red-hot streak offensively, netting six goals to go with an assist, three draw controls and two ground balls. It was her third game with five or more goals this season, and the seventh time she’s led the Lakers in both goals and points.

The offense looked much more fluid than it did against Lindenwood, as 12 Lakers tallied at least a point in the victory. Midfielders Brooke Ingraham and Rachel Leibovitz supplied two goals and an assist apiece, while fellow midfielder Kira Dosenberry came through with two goals and six caused turnovers. Ryan Skomial and Sarah Lowe combined for five assists.

“We emphasized in practice to work with each other and take our time when shooting,” Leibovitz said. “We took the opportunities to finish, faking out opponents and taking the shot only if it was there.”

Neumen said the one-day turnaround started with the coaches, who weren’t happy with Tuesday’s performance. The focus was taking chances to the net, and that’s exactly what GVSU did offensively. The team scored a handful of its 15 goals on crisp feeds in front of the net or 1-on-2 opportunities. 

The defense proved to be just as strong, as the Lakers limited Fort Lewis to just 17 total shots — and just five in the second half.

“We communicated a lot more on and off the ball,” said sophomore goalie Sarah Zwilsky, who made nine saves. “We didn’t harp on mistakes and saw each other more when we cleared.”

The Lakers (4-4, 0-0 GLIAC) will not play in Allendale again until April 12, when they start a four-game homestand against GLIAC foe McKendree. GVSU will compete in four road games in the meantime at Wheeling Jesuit (April 1), Alderson Broaddus (April 2), Walsh (April 4) and Ursuline (April 10).