GLIAC to sponsor women’s lacrosse

Melanie Huhn

The Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference has joined in on the latest trend thanks to a little push from Grand Valley State University and has added women’s lacrosse to their list of sponsored programs.
After a proposal was presented, GLIAC Commissioner Dell Robinson and the management council decided to sponsor the sport beginning in the 2012-13 academic year. This will be the 11th women’s sport added to the sponsored list. The GLIAC is the only Division II conference in the Midwest to sponsor the women’s sport.

This advancement has placed nine teams to compete in the GLIAC in its inaugural season. The members include Lake Erie College, Tiffin University, University of Findlay and GVSU. Four affiliate members will join the conference, which include Alderson-Broaddus College, Notre Dame College (Ohio), Urbana University (Ohio) and Wheeling Jesuit University.

Excitement is an understatement for the GVSU women’s program as they are just getting over their introduction as a varsity program last season. With a successful first season, the team believes that they are ready for the next step.

“Anytime that we can put our conference mark on a varsity sport it brings it into the fold with all of our other programs,” said Keri Becker, associate athletic director at GVSU. “ To be able to put our brand on women’s lacrosse will help from a recruiting standpoint by giving us a league, which we will then begin to have a chance for postseason play for the girls.”

With women’s lacrosse now brought into the fold with the other programs, they want to make sure not to take advantage of the opportunities placed in front of them. Head coach for the women’s team, Alicia Groveston, thinks this will have an impact on the team and on the Midwest.

“I really feel the team knows now that this is for real and the time to push and get better is at hand,” Groveston said. “You always want to win, but now we feel the drive to compete at the highest level possible, win a conference tournament and contribute to the success of Grand Valley.”

Apart from the introduction to a league, the team will be competing in a single round-robin format with each of the nine teams early next April. This will lead to a post-season NCAA eight-team Division II tournament later in May.

“I really believe the GLIAC adopting our sport will do great things for our sport and the future of Division II lacrosse,” Groveston said. “ Being able to watch the conference grow with rivalries and intense battles helps future players learn about the sport and picture themselves at this level.”

With lacrosse as the current trend, the women’s team is happy that the sport is given a bit more credit. The conference sponsorship has already proven to further enhance the sport, as it will continue to grow within the years.

“The fact that we are now included with all of the other sport that are sponsored by the GLIAC proves that we are doing our job,” said senior Allyson Fritts. “We are on our way to winning something and we want to be as a serious sport to get involved with.”

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