GV lacrosse wins season opener


GVL / Annabelle Robinson

James Herrick, Staff Writer

The Grand Valley State University (2-0) women’s lacrosse team began their 2022 season when they traveled to Florida to take on Saint Leo University on Feb. 17 and the University of Tampa on Feb. 20. For their first game of the season on Thursday, the Lakers had an impressive showing that resulted in an 18-11 victory.

GVSU got off to a hot start as junior midfielder Molly Bursinger controlled the first draw and then scored within the first minute of the game. The Lakers dominated the remainder of the first quarter after Bursinger added four more goals along with sophomore midfielder Hailey Crittenden’s one. During the Lakers offensive barrage, Saint Leo was able to score two goals resulting in a 6-2 score after the first quarter.

“A lot of (the success in the first quarter) was in the play of Molly Bursinger,” said coach Mackenzie Lawler. “She was great on the circle, of getting early draw controls, which I think made Saint Leo a little flat-footed since they’re used to getting those easy possessions.”

In the second quarter, Saint Leo was able to regain momentum as they scored three unanswered goals until graduate student attacker Sophie Conroy scored to end the Saint Leo’s run. For the remainder of the quarter, the teams traded goals. The Lakers’ offensive efforts were led by sophomore midfielder Sydney Stone who scored four goals before the end of the quarter. Heading into the half, the Lakers led 11-8.

Coming out of the half, GVSU took over the game. In a team effort, four different players scored as the Lakers put up six points. Meanwhile, their defense stayed strong as Saint Leo was only able to score two points. This pushed the Lakers’ lead to 17-10.

In a quiet fourth quarter, each team put up one more goal and the Lakers held on to win 18-11.

The Lakers scoring efforts were led by Bursinger as she scored six goals, followed by Stone’s five goals and one assist. Conroy contributed three goals and three assists with junior midfield Maggie Hammer adding two goals and an assist as well.

One of the most crucial aspects of GVSU’s success was being able to control the draws throughout the game. They finished the night with 22 draw controls to Saint Leo’s 11. This was led by Bursinger who tallied 13 alone.

“I was really proud of our draw unit,” Lawler said. “That was a big focus going into the game. Saint Leo has two freshmen who have done outstanding in their first two games of the season, so for us to go in and win two-thirds of the draw, that was huge.”

The other major factor in this game was the Laker’s speed.

“I definitely think that we played to that strength (speed),” Lawler said. “Having our team get over 40 shots was the benefit to that new speed. Our defenders did a great job causing turnovers and really pushing the pace. Offensively, we could be so fresh and play at such a high speed that I really think we were able to wear them down in the second half.”

Moving forward, GVSU will have some adjustments to make as the season progresses.

“I think we need to tune up a little bit of our offensive spacing,” Lawler said. “At times we got a little crowded. Defensively, making sure we’re really playing as a unit with our slides.”

The GVSU women’s lacrosse team will be back in action on March 4, when they travel to the University of Indianapolis.