GVSU lax on the rise, stays perfect in GLIAC

GVL/Kevin Sielaff
Brooke Ingraham

GVL/Kevin Sielaff Brooke Ingraham

Mason Tronsor

Coming off its third sweep of the GLIAC regular season and tournament titles, the Grand Valley State women’s lacrosse program has begun to reach its peak.

Or has it?

The program has come a long way since 2010, when it first joined the ranks of Division II women’s lacrosse. Back in Jan. 2010, GVSU Athletic Director Tim Selgo announced Alicia Groveston as the first coach of the women’s lacrosse program.

“I always have wanted to build a program, it is on my coaching bucket list,” Groveston said. “And to do it at such a storied athletic department, I was honored to be chosen.”

Prior to landing at GVSU, Groveston led Gannon University, located in Erie, Pennsylvania, to a 12-4 record and a national ranking of No. 8. Her first coaching job was as an assistant coach at Stephen Decatur High School in Berlin, Maryland.

A native of Annapolis, Maryland, Groveston has used out-of-state recruiting as a tool for her success at GVSU. The current GVSU women’s lacrosse roster has 16 players that hail from outside Michigan. Some players come from states such as California, Missouri, Florida, New York, Maryland and Minnesota.

“There is a lot of diversity on the team, but we are all really closely bonded,” said Kira Dosenberry, sophomore midfielder from San Diego. “We are all a family and Coach Groveston is like the mom.”

Before out-of-state recruiting took shape, Groveston knew she needed to protect the home state and recruit inside Michigan. When the club team entered Division II, the former club players did not automatically transfer over. They were, however, allowed to try out for the new team.

“I was lucky enough to have eight kids who took a chance on us in our first recruiting cycle,” Groveston said. “They set the foundation that was needed to build this program up.”

In Groveston’s first season with GVSU, the Lakers finished 10-7. Since then, the GLIAC has been formed, and GVSU has never lost a conference contest under Groveston’s leadership.

In 2011, Groveston was honored with the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Association Service Award. The award is given to individuals who have committed themselves to the betterment of the IWLCA. Groveston participated as the treasurer/secretary of Lax-4-Life, a national lacrosse campaign to provide and support programs geared toward adolescent and young adult suicide prevention awareness.

“Coach Groveston has taught me so much more about life than lacrosse,” said Alyssa Neumen, senior midfielder. “She has taught me a lot about myself, pushing me on and off the field.”

The cross-country reach doesn’t stop at just recruiting for Groveston and the Lakers. None of the road games on GVSU’s schedule were inside Michigan. They traveled as far as Florida, New York and West Virginia.

Despite covering hundreds of miles in travel every season, the Laker lax ladies have been able to score grades just as well as they score goals.

“Our team was able to maintain a 3.3 GPA the entire year,” Groveston said. “I think the balance of athletics and schoolwork is a skill that will help them later in life.”

It has been five years to date, and Groveston has elevated the women’s lacrosse program to new heights. The Lakers are knocking on the door, ready to burst onto the national stage.

The question isn’t if, the question is when.