Early success at home unifies team

GVL / Archive 
Freshman Sarah Lowe looking to pass the ball to a teammate during the lakers first home match against Lindenwood.

GVL Archives

GVL / Archive Freshman Sarah Lowe looking to pass the ball to a teammate during the lakers first home match against Lindenwood.

Jon Van Zytveld

For the Grand Valley State University women’s lacrosse team, the challenge of its inaugural season has been all about finding the right balance of chemistry and teamwork.

With the weekend’s two victories on their home turf, GVSU coach Alicia Groveston believes that the team has finally found that balance.

“We’re in the situation where the pieces are starting to fall into place,” she said. “We’re taking better care of the ball, and our defense is really stepping up and making some nice saves.”

The Lakers (4-4) rallied during their third home game of the season to earn a 16-8 victory over Tiffin University (1-6) on Saturday. The Lakers led for the duration of the game due to a strong offense, led by Rachel Leibovitz, who gave the team an early lead that they held until the end.

“We’ve been working on building up full games,” said Leibovitz, who scored six goals during Saturday’s game. “Our team has many great players with many skills, and sometimes we struggle to put it all together, but when we do, we play very well. I think everyone was happy with how we played.”

The Lakers returned on Sunday for another home game, this time against Olivet College (0-7), which the team defeated 25-1, a season-high in scoring for the Lakers.

GVSU carried their strong play over from the previous day to dominate offensively, keeping the vast majority of the game play on the Comets’ half of the field. The game was a near-shutout, with the Lakers leading 17-1 at the half. Olivet improved their offense and defense during the second half, but it was not enough to halt GVSU.

“This weekend, we wanted to win both games — that was our goal,” said GVSU assistant coach Erika Walker. “I think we pretty much approach all games with the same amount of preparation, but I think I think that these home games had some meaning to them.”

After four consecutive home games, the Lakers will return to the road this Friday to combat Fort Lewis (4-2) in Denver. The game will mark the start of four consecutive away games, which will take the Lakers to Colorado as well as Ohio. While the team will miss the home field advantage, the Lakers are excited to bring their talent and passion for lacrosse to another state.

“Our last road trip didn’t go as well as we hoped for,” Leibovitz said. “We really want to make sure that this trip will be a winning one. I’m really excited and the rest of the team is, too.”

After several road losses early in their season, the Lakers are committed to maintaining their balanced play in order to triumph during the upcoming games.

“I think the team has seen what they can do, and that’s a very powerful thing,” Groveston said. “We’re finding those nuances and teaching moments. We know what we need to do. The key is to be us and to do what we do, and at this point, that is a great thing.”

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