It’s not always how you start, but how you finish.

Courtesy /

Courtesy /

Adam Knorr

For the Grand Valley State University women’s lacrosse team, this saying couldn’t have been more true.

In the beginning of the year, GVSU was sitting on a lowly 2-5 record after dropping three straight contests in New York.

Following the disappointing East Coast trip, the Lakers rattled off 11 consecutive wins en route to a GLIAC championship.

GVSU squared off against Tiffin University on May 5, closing out the season on its home turf at the Laker Lacrosse Stadium in Allendale. The Lakers, seeded first in the tournament, played the role of Goliath against the third-seeded Dragons. Unlike Goliath, though, GVSU came out on top, winning the championship match 16-12.

“Winning the GLIAC is an awesome achievement,” said sophomore defender Alyssa Neumen. “It’s a surreal feeling. We didn’t have any doubt in our mind that we could do it. It was just a matter of going out and playing how we knew we could.”

Despite the close score, GVSU dominated the tilt as they hounded Tiffin goalie Jessica Bombard with an astounding 53 shots, including a 36-7 shot advantage in the first half. Tiffin opened the scoring with a goal by senior attacker Alexandria Quast, but its lead proved to be short-lived. The Lakers scored the next four goals, all from the sticks of different players. After another Quast tally, GVSU lit up the scoreboard with a 6-1 run to take an 11-3 lead.

A 12-4 halftime edge quickly turned into a 16-6 GVSU lead, as sophomore Victoria Devine scored with 15 minutes left in the game to start a running clock. The Dragons refused to let their season end without a roar, however, scoring the final six goals of the game to pull within four as time expired.

With the victory, the Lakers met all season expectations on their plate. GVSU was voted as the number one team in the GLIAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll, finishing four votes ahead of Storm of Lake Erie. The Lakers fulfilled two team goals with the win, as well, as they complete the 2013 campaign undefeated in GLIAC record as well as with an undefeated home record.

In the midst of celebration comes melancholy for GVSU, as it is forced to wave goodbye to seniors Allyson Fritts and MacKenzie Grzeskowiak. Fritts’ departure leaves a hole that will undoubtedly be tough to fill. The explosive midfielder led the team with 56 goals and 73 points. In addition to her outstanding statistics, Fritts was a two-year captain and helped bring the program to Division II relevance in a short period of time.

“It’s going to be really hard to replace her,” said head coach Alicia Groveston. “She set the standard really high for what a Laker lacrosse player is. She deserves every honor she was given. I’m sad to see her go and it’s tough that our time with her is done, but she left a lasting impression.”

Eight different players found the back of the net for GVSU, led by Devine, Jordan Luberto and Rachel Leibovitz who tallied three a piece. Netminder Audrey Kobe recorded eight saves to garner the win. Quast scored six goals in the contest for Tiffin, finishing the season with 105 goals and becoming both NCAA Division II career point leader and single season goal scorer. Fritts was named 2013 GLIAC Attacker of the Year while Neuman was honored with Defender of the Year.
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