GVSU lacrosse club shines in 4-0 weekend

Jay Bushen

With a two-goal lead in the second half of an increasingly physical game against Marquette, Grand Valley State women’s club lacrosse coach Dan Teskey needed to kill three birds with one stone: burn the clock, protect the precious lead and most importantly keep his players safe.

Teskey instructed his players to “kill it’ — or start a good old fashioned game of keep-away.

“That’s not really our style of play, we’re more of a run-and-gun team,” said Teskey, who thinks there should be a stall warning in club lacrosse. “They got a little bit angry and it got a little bit chippy.”

The strategy paid off. GVSU held the ball for nearly the last nine minutes, Teskey said, securing the 6-4 win on Sunday afternoon.

The victory was the fourth in as many games for the up-and-coming Lakers during their trip to St. Louis, Mo. The team also notched wins over Wheaton, Augustana and St. Louis.

“We tried to play keep-away the best we could,” said junior attack Ashley Piper. “We had girls just kind of running around the field. I was really proud of how we handled ourselves and took checks.

“Overall we showed a lot of maturity in how we handle ourselves with the GV pride that we do.”

The Lakers, now 6-3 in the 2014-15 campaign, started the four-game stretch with a decisive, 13-5 win over Wheaton on Saturday. Piper led the way offensively with six points (three goals, three assists), while senior mid Stefanie Apruzzese supplied a hat trick of her own. Senior goalie Rachel Jurczyszyn came up big with 11 saves — which proved to be a common theme in the weekend.

Jurczyszyn only needed to make three saves later on Saturday against Augustana, but she made all three of them to secure her first shutout. The keeper had plenty of help from her teammates.

Eight Lakers found the back of the net as GVSU racked up a season-high 16 goals. Apruzzese led the way, filling the stat sheet with three goals, two assists and seven of GVSU’s 10 draw controls.

The 2-0 day set up a pair of early morning showdowns with St. Louis and Marquette on Sunday.

“One of the things we said to the girls was, ‘this weekend isn’t over yet. Wins are obviously very exciting, but don’t think we’re going to win tomorrow. It’s a whole new ballgame,'” Piper said.

Piper woke up ready to play for the 8 a.m. start time.

She led the Lakers with three points (two goals, one assist) as the team outlasted St. Louis by the slimmest of margins, 8-7. Jurczyszyn was good again, stopping 11 of 18 shots.

From there, GVSU started hot — as it often has this year — against Marquette at 10 a.m. The Lakers led 5-0 at the break, but saw their lead start to slip away in the second stanza. That’s when they put their cradling skills to the test in an unusually long game of monkey in the middle.

“It was really funny just to watch all the girls run around,” said sophomore attack Emily Davis. “They kind of were chopping our heads off and we just tried to stay calm.”

Senior mid Mackie Forgacs paced GVSU with game highs in goals with two and points with three. Piper added a goal and an assist, as did junior mid Julia Cruz. Jurczyszyn (6-1) made eight saves.

“It means a lot,” Teskey said of the 4-0 weekend. “We came off a three-game losing streak to some top-ranked teams and morale was down a little bit. It was our first trip as a team, so a team-bonding event, and getting four wins out of it was a morale booster. We’re hitting our stride.”

The team welcomes Western Michigan in Allendale on Thursday night at 7 p.m.

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