GVSU lacrosse blows halftime lead in 13-9 loss to Seton Hill

GVL/Kevin Sielaff - Meghan Datema (18) controls the ball and sets up a play during the game vs Northern Michigan on Saturday, April 15, 2017.

Kevin Sielaff

GVL/Kevin Sielaff – Meghan Datema (18) controls the ball and sets up a play during the game vs Northern Michigan on Saturday, April 15, 2017.

Robbie Triano

When any team is struggling to perform to their potential, normally a coach will solve the team’s performance questions and hopefully provide answers to improve on moving forward.

But for Grand Valley State women’s lacrosse coach Alicia Groveston, her team only left her with questions after the Lakers allowed nine second-half goals in their 13-9 loss against Seton Hill (Pennsylvania) at home Tuesday, April 18.

The Lakers (4-7) came out the gates playing some of their best ball of the season, establishing an early 6-4 lead by the end of the first half. However, the second half was a different story as the Griffins (8-6) took advantage of the Laker squad by scoring six unanswered goals and never looking back.

“In the locker room I talked about how I have questions and how I am searching for answers,” Groveston said. “I have questions about where we disappeared in the start of the second half. I also have questions on where that grit and fire went when we played almost lights out, perfect lacrosse in the first.

“Whatever took over in their brain, it must’ve been a sudden lack of confidence or that we just stopped playing to win.”

The Lakers only needed 17 seconds for freshman Sarah Stagaard to put the game’s first goal on the scoreboard after an assist by sophomore Kelley Fitzgerald. Five minutes later, Stagaard tacked on her second goal of the contest to give the Lakers a 2-0 lead.

Seton Hill’s offense brought the score to a 2-2 tie by passing until the ball found a crease in Laker defense.

Junior Meggan Loyd weaved her way through the Griffins’ defense, finding an open shot and the back of the net to give the Lakers a 3-2 lead. That lead only lasted for 34 seconds as the Griffins retaliated back, taking a 4-3 lead with 13 minutes left in the half.

Willed by precise passing and open looks in front of the net, Loyd tallied two more goals to her day’s total. Freshman Abbi O’Neal closed the half with another goal to create the Lakers’ 6-4 first half lead.

“It was a back and forth battle and we were able to have the fire to hang in there,” Groveston said. “Defensively, we were getting some knockdowns to get our offense some opportunities that we capitalized on immediately.”

However, the Lakers’ second half performance had Groveston wishing that the game ended at halftime.

Seton Hill’s offense came out firing in the second half, scoring six unanswered goals to establish a 10-6 lead with only 15 minutes remaining. Not only were the Griffins dominating the hustle play category, including gathering 10 more second half ground balls than GVSU, but the Lakers lacked the effort and consistency they showed earlier.

“We just had more heart in the first half,” Loyd said. “I don’t know where the disconnect happened when everybody stopped working together.”

Loyd ended the Griffins’ streak of offense by scoring her fourth goal of the day, cutting the Seton Hill lead to within three. But the Lakers found themselves victim to the Seton Hill offense as the Griffins scored 34 seconds later.

By the end of competition, the Griffins earned their 13-9 victory, handing GVSU its eighth loss of the season. Junior Meghan Datema scored the last two goals for the Lakers.

Coach Groveston isn’t one for excuses, but found herself resulting to them as answers after her team’s head-scratching second half.

“Honestly, I think we were just tired,” Groveston said. “We got a little impatient when we got tired because we were thinking ‘oh my god let’s get a quick score’ so we can go back to the draw circle rather than waiting for the opportunity that’s available.”

With only three games remaining in the regular season, the Lakers are aware they need to make some drastic changes to their team, on and off the field.

“We have immense talent. We have the ability to score, and we have the ability to stop the other team from scoring. What’s missing is I think internal,” Groveston said. “It’s not even being physical or the X’s and O’s of lacrosse.

“The best teams are the teams that are selfless and will do anything for the teammate next to them. I don’t know if we have that emotion right now so we need to find that.”

The Lakers hope to rebound against GLIAC rival McKendree at home Sunday, April 23.