Grand Valley State University Picked To Win GLIAC Title In 2014 Coaches’ Preseason Lacrosse Poll

Grand Valley State University Picked To Win GLIAC Title In 2014 Coaches’ Preseason Lacrosse Poll

Click here for the printer-friendly (PDF) version of this release

BAY CITY, Mich. — The Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) lacrosse coaches selected Grand Valley State University to win the league title in the 2014 GLIAC Lacrosse Preseason Poll. The Laker are the defending GLIAC regular season and tournament champions.

2013 marked the first year that the GLIAC sponsored women’s lacrosse as an intercollegiate varsity sport.

The league’s head coaches participated in the balloting, but were not allowed to vote for their team.

2014 GLIAC Lacrosse
Preseason Coaches' Poll




School (1st votes)




Grand Valley State (8)







Lake Erie




Findlay (1)




Wheeling Jesuit
















Alderson Broaddus



GVSU finished on top of the 2014 GLIAC Preseason poll after garnering 64 points and all eight first place-votes it was eligible for. Tiffin University placed second in the preseason poll with 51 points, narrowly edging out Lake Erie College.  The Storm place third with 50 points. The University of Findlay collected 47 points and one first-place vote,  finishing a close fourth. Wheeling Jesuit University would finish in fifth with 37 points.
Urbana University tallied 23 points to finish sixth followed by Walsh University with 20 points to finish in seventh.  New GLIAC affiliate member Ursuline College, in its first year as a varsity sport, received 17 points to finish eighth.  Alderson Broaddus College recorded 15 points to place ninth in the preseason poll.

The 2014 GLIAC women’s lacrosse schedule will feature a single round-robin format with each of the nine teams playing eight conference games beginning on April 2.  The GLIAC women’s lacrosse tournament will include the top six teams in the final regular season standings with the top two teams receiving byes into the semifinals.  GLIAC Tournament quarterfinal matches will be played at the sites of the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds on Tuesday, April 29.  The Tournament semifinals and final will be held at the site of the No. 1 seed on Friday, May 2 and Sunday, May 4.

For more information about GLIAC lacrosse please visit the GLIAC lacrosse web page at:


-- The following are previews of all 9 GLIAC Lacrosse teams for the 2014 season --


Grand Valley State Lakers
Head Coach:  Alicia Groveston
3rd Season
2014 Preseason Pick: 1st

GVSU returns nine starters from last season’s group, which finished a perfect 8-0 in GLIAC play and captured the inaugural GLIAC Tournament title. Overall, the Lakers bring back 18 players from the 2013 squad and will add eight newcomers to their 2014 roster. GVSU will be one of the youngest teams in the conference with 14 underclassmen and only a pair of seniors.

Offensively, the Lakers’ biggest challenge will be replacing Allyson Fritts, who was named the GLIAC “Attacker of the Year” last season. GVSU does return six of its top seven point-getters, including a pair of All-GLIAC performers, though. Junior midfielder Rachel Leibovitz earned first team honors a year ago with 48 goals and six assists. Junior attacker Sarah Lowe garnered a second team plaudit with 20 goals and 20 assists.

At the defensive end, junior Alyssa Neumen was named the 2013 GLIAC “Defender of the Year” and will lead an experienced personnel group. Between Neumen, senior Brianna Shefferly and All-GLIAC Second Team honoree Ashley Stoltenberg, the Lakers bring back 53 starts, 44 caused turnovers and 99 ground balls.

In goal, GVSU will look to freshman Sarah Zwilsky to fill the void left behind by last season’s starter, Audrey Kobe. The lefty was a two-time captain and an All-State performer at Brunswick High School in Knoxville, Md.

Head coach Alicia Groveston is entering her third season at the helm of the GVSU program. The 2013 GLIAC Coach of the Year has gone 23-12 in her first two years with the Lakers. Under Groveston’s guidance, GVSU has been able to schedule several games with highly-ranked opponents and establish a great reputation given how young the program is.



Tiffin Dragons
Head Coach: Erica Brown
2nd Season
2014 Preseason Pick: 2nd


OVERVIEW: The Tiffin University Dragons (10-9, 6-2 GLIAC) enter the 2014 season with high expectations, as they reached the GLIAC Tournament Championship match last season while finishing third overall in the final conference regular season standings. TU looks to feature a multifaceted offense this season with a talented mix of returners and newcomers while also improving the defense.

The Dragons’ offense is led by First Team All-GLIAC player Alexis MacMillan (38 goals, 47 assists). Three more Second Team All-Conference players join her on the attack, with Emily Roussel (63 goals, 15 assists) featured at attacker and Katelyn Hill (40 goals, 13 assists) leading the midfield. Kalie Weinheimer (17 goals, 4 assists) will also play all over the field. The offense will also be aided by talented newcomers Haley Swanson and Gina Abulone up front, and Tori Nelson and Morgan Sherley at midfield.

Defensively TU is led by First Team standout Megan Belch. She is joined by returning letterwinners Shannon Lubin (3 goals, 8 assists) and Sarah Gowan (3 goals, 1 assist). Freshman Randi Castner will also bring added skill to the defense, which looks to be fundamentally improved and faster.

TU also has the advantage of having the GLIAC Goalkeeper of the Year in Jessica Bombard, who finished second in the nation in saves. She had 219 saves and an 11.40 GAA for the team last season.

The Dragons are coached by Erica Brown, who enters her second season with a 10-9 overall record with the Dragons.


Lake Erie Storm
Head Coach: Jillian Howley
3rd Season
2014 Preseason Pick: 3rd  


OVERVIEW: LEC looks to make a bigger push in the GLIAC after falling in the semifinals in last season’s tournament.  Last season, the Storm finished with its best overall record to date, 13-5, and was 7-1 in GLIAC play.  Six members of the squad were named to All-GLIAC squads, four of which return this season.

The Storm looks to replace 2014 graduates Julia Kudla and Meredith Howe at attack this season after the duo combined for 116 goals last year.  Ashriel West will lead the Storm attack in her senior season after tallying 47 goals and 31 assists in 2013.

Hana Abu-Kwiek returns to the midfield after being named Second-Team All-GLIAC in 2013, when she scored 53 goals and had 11 assists.

The Storm returns three All-GLIAC selections on defense.  Alex Freeman (Syracuse, N.Y./Jamesville Dewitt), a First-Team selection, is back for her senior season after starting every game last season on defense.  She is joined by Second-Team selection Samantha Gryba (Okotoks, Alberta/National Sports Academy) who split her time last season between defense and midfield, collecting 16 goals and five assists.  They will be joined by sophomore Skylar Hunter (Erie, Pa./McDowell) and freshman Deianira Smith. Sophomore goalkeeper Katie Holden (Whitby, Ont./Anderson C.V.I.) will anchor the Storm’s defense for the second year after earning All-GLIAC Second-Team honors last year.

Jillian Howley returns for her third season at the helm of the Storm, compiling a 20-15 record.  She will be joined by first-year graduate assistant Alexandria Quast, a 2013 All-GLIAC First-Team selection from Tiffin University.

Findlay Oilers
Head Coach: Julie Duffy
4th Season
2014 Preseason Pick: 4th

The University of Findlay women’s lacrosse team will be opening up their second season of existence during the 2014 campaign.  The team finished with a 6-12 mark during their inaugural season last year, which included a 4-4 record in the GLIAC.  The Oilers, who ended the 2013 campaign with a perfect 4-0 record at home, will again field a team of underclassmen.  16 out of the Oilers 17 players on their 2014 roster will be freshmen or sophomores.

Sophomore Sarah Lankton returns to lead the offense after being named the 2013 GLIAC Freshman of the Year.  She also earned first team all-conference accolades after scoring 71 goals.  She also racked up a total of 95 points and led the league in free position goals with 28.  Sophomore Mackenzie Barnwell returns after scoring 50 goals while sophomores Taylor Trice and Victoria Predmore are back after cumulating 34 and 23 goals, respectively.

The Oilers defense will be led by junior Jenah Eastep, who was a second team all-conference pick as a sophomore when she caused ten turnovers and registered 38 ground balls.  Lankton and Predmore will also help on the defensive side as they led the team in caused turnovers with 27 and 21, respectively.

Sophomore Katie Poorman will be the Oilers goalkeeper this season and finished with a 1-1 record in net for Findlay last year.

Julie Duffy returns to coach the Oilers for her second season in 2014.  She has a 6-12 record during her career with Findlay, which includes a 4-4 mark in the GLIAC.



Wheeling Jesuit Cardinals
Head Coach: Tim Florence
 3rd Season
2014 Preseason Pick: 5th


OVERVIEW:  Coming off a 2013 season where the Cardinals finished 5-13, the Wheeling Jesuit women’s lacrosse team welcomes back seven returning players and adds nine newcomers as it moves into its third campaign.  WJU will look to improve on its 3-5 GLIAC conference record and make it back to into the conference tournament.

The attack unit will be led by captain Jessie Tufnell and Shelby McClure.  Tufnell, a Second-Team, All-GLIAC performer, was the Cardinals leading scorer with 43 goals, while McClure found the back of the net 19 times.  Newcomers Elizabeth Hales and Paige Plesich will look to add punch to the offense with their ability to go to the cage and find open players.

Returning starters Sara Fitzsimon and Kassidy Forsen lead the midfield unit that will be relied upon to play both offensively and defensively.  Fitzsimon, a senior, did a little of everything last year netting 19 goals, scooping up 64 ground balls, controlling 61 draws, and causing 18 turnovers.  Forsen will look to bounce back after an injury-riddled season which only allowed her to play half of the games.

Captain Molly Parker will anchor the defensive unit.  Parker plays with great intensity and aggressiveness all over the field and will also look push the ball up field in transition when the opportunity arises.  This style of play allowed her to score 11 goals, gather 34 ground balls, and control 26 draws.

Maire Austin, a freshman from Hilliard, Ohio, will step in between the pipes to take over for Hannah Lazuka.  Lazuka started all eighteen games and was second in the conference in shots saved with 165.  WJU will need Austin to be solid for the Cards to have a successful 2014 season.

Tim Florence, in his 3rd year, has posted a 7-23 record while at WJU.



Urbana Blue Knights
Head Coach:  Mike Hilton
1st Season
2014 Preaseason Pick: 6th


Uncertainty surrounds the Urbana University women’s lacrosse team in 2014. Gone are the squads top two scorers (twin sisters Emily and Nora Boerger) and top defender (Alyssa Ashcroft), along with Head Coach Aimee LeClair. The Blue Knights finished 3-11 last year, including a 2-6 mark in the GLIAC, missing out on the conference tournament by one game. New Head Coach Mike Hilton took over the program in August. He inherited a squad that returns 10 letterwinners, including 9 starters, but he’ll have to find a way to replace the three departed seniors who played the biggest roles on last year’s team.

Offensively, Urbana lost 78 of its 124 goals (63%) to graduation. Fortunately, those 78 goals came in the form of just 3 players. Back are junior Hannah Walters (20 goals, team-high 11 assists), sophomore Chanelle Bondurant (12 goals, 4 assists) and five other players who scored points in 2013.  

The Blue Knights’ strength in 2014 will likely be their defense. The program is in its 4th year of competition, and there are three 4-year starters on the Blue Knights’ back line. Seniors Chiara Corsmeier, Ashley Gerken and Heather Abdalla are the most experienced Blue Knights in program history, and together, they will help Urbana’s defense allow less than the 13.5 goals per game the squad surrendered in 2013.

A couple of experienced goalkeepers will also contribute to what should be lower GAA this spring. Sophomore Paige Waqa and junior Emily Brumley split time and manned Urbana’s goal for all 14 games last spring. Waqa started 9 games to Brumley’s 5, but Brumley started 14 of 15 games as a freshman in 2012.

Coach Hilton comes to Urbana from the private sector. He  has over 40 years of experience in the sport, beginning with his playing career at Towson University in the 1970’s.


Walsh Cavaliers
Head Coach: Christy Mitchell
2nd Season
2014 Preseason Pick: 7th


As Walsh enters its sophomore season in program history, it will look to improve upon last year’s 2-8 overall record. The Cavaliers went 1-7 in the GLIAC with a win in their first-ever conference game. The majority of last year’s squad returning coupled with the addition of nine new freshmen should help them do that. Overall, 10 letter winners and eight starters at all positions return for the 2014 season.

On the offensive end, the Cavs’ top four scorers from last season all return. Lauren Griswold (Sr., 5-6, Strongsville, OH/HS) and Mary Myers (Sr., 5-5, Stow, OH/Olentangy Orange) each scored a team-high eight goals for Walsh. Holly Axline (Jr., 5-0, North Canton, OH/Hoover) was also in that mix as she scored six goals on the year. This year, the addition of the speedy Brianna Moss (Fr., 5-5, Brunswick, OH/HS) should help with the offensive production.

Ivy Meloy (Sr., 5-8, Cuyahoga Falls, OH/HS), the teams overall points leader with eight goals and two assists, will make the transition and bring her senior leadership to the defensive end of the field. She will join the returning duo of Kristina Belopotosky (Jr., Hartville, OH/Lake) and Kelly Krempel (Jr., 5-10, Newark, OH/Catholic) to help shore up the defensive end.

Tia Tyler (So., 5-8, Columbus, OH/St. Francis DeSales) will return as the Cavs’ goalkeeper in her second year. She played every minute of every game and made 101 saves on the 2013 season.

The Cavaliers will again be lead by Head Coach Christy Mitchell, who is also in her second year after starting the Walsh women’s lacrosse program last season.

Ursuline Arrows
Head Coach: Ed Karasek
1st Season
2014 Preseason Pick: 8th



OVERVIEW:  Ursuline will field its inaugural lacrosse team this spring and the program’s first ever game will be on March 5 at Baldwin Wallace University. The Arrows will play a 17-game schedule but only six contests will be played at home.  Head coach Ed Karasek has a young team with 13 freshmen and two sophomores.

The Ursuline attack will be led by freshmen Anika Aberegg and Sarah Kiefer. Freshmen Maddie Kipp, Natalie Pachinger and Bailey Patterson will hold the midfield together and are expected to have a big impact in their rookie seasons.

The UC defense prides itself on being able to stop opponents of all shapes and sizes. Karasek has recruited a group that has blazing speed and has defenders who can play a more physical game in front of the net. No matter the strength of the opponent, Karasek believes he has a solution on his team. Freshman Lauren Cole figures to be the starter in goal and comes to UC after a celebrated career at Brighton (Mich.) High School. She was the starting goalkeeper on Brighton’s state championship team as a sophomore in 2011 and as a junior, Cole helped her team capture KLAA conference championship while earning first team All-KLAA honors and all-state honorable mention status. As a senior, Cole repeated as a first team All-KLAA pick and again earned honorable mention all-state status.

Karasek was named the first head lacrosse coach in the history of UC in August of 2012. He is no stranger to building women’s lacrosse programs, having done so at Indiana Tech, where he was named head coach in 2008 and recruited 22 student-athletes to form the initial roster that began competing in the spring of 2010. In the program’s first season, the Warriors went 14-7. An 18-4 season followed in 2011 and culminated in a National Women’s Lacrosse League title. In 2012, Indiana Tech went 14-5 and captured the NWLL regular season crown with a 9-1 mark to improve his record at the school to 46-16 (.742).


Alderson Broaddus Battlers

Head Coach: Jennifer Guess
2nd Season
2014 Preseason Pick:  9th


OVERVIEW:  The Battlers are looking to improve in their second year as a varsity intercollegiate team.  AB went winless a year ago, but have lots of reasons to be optimistic entering the 2014 season with a solid group of returners, and a talented freshman class from all different backgrounds, who bring tremendous potential to the battlefield.

Assistant Coach Elizabeth Demara will be working with the offense this season and expects to see big things” from freshmen, Teka Miles and Jasmine Barham, as well as from the core returners.  Junior Cynthia Rice scored a team-high 13 goals last season while recording a .481 shooting percentage.

Sophomores Tia Kline and Ellie Wilkins will be key in leading the Battler’s defensive unit.  Kline, a sophomore midfielder, started every game for the Battlers last season, compiling a team-high 30 ground balls.  Offensively, she tallied five goals and an assist.

AB is fortunate to have goalkeeper Kate Laird, back as a second year senior, to continue to anchor our defensive approach.  She led the nation in saves for all of Division II for a week last April, breaking 200.  Laird compiled a .400 save percentage in 2013. AB also welcomes Paxton Boyer as another force between the pipes, looking to make a big statement during her freshman season.

Head coach Jennifer Guess begins her first season as head women’s lacrosse coach at Alderson-Broaddus.