Grand Valley State women's lacrosse punches ticket to the NCAA Final Four

Grand Valley State women's lacrosse punches ticket to the NCAA Final Four

Courtesy of Grand Valley State athletic communications

DENVER, COLO. – For the first time in program history, the GVSU women's lacrosse team is headed to the Final Four! The Lakers completed a last-minute comeback in the fourth quarter to force overtime, where Maddy Champagne won it for the Lakers, 11-10 over Indianapolis.

Down 10-8 with less than three minutes to play in the fourth quarter, Sydney Stone scored two goals in just over a minute to tie the game at 10 and send the game into a golden goal overtime. In overtime, the Laker defense forced a UIndy turnover, and the offense took care of the rest. Champagne was fouled driving to the net, giving her a free position attempt shot, which she promptly buried in the back of the net to give the Lakers their first Regional Title in program history.

The Lakers began the scoring, getting goals from Stone and Zoe Ziegler less than three minutes into the game to put GVSU up 2-0. The Greyhounds came back to tie it at two, before Ashleigh Rothe took a pass from Ella Boose to put the Lakers back in the lead at 3-2, a lead they would hold heading into the second quarter.

Jill Dennison added another Laker goal, getting an assist from Maddy Champagne, then Molly Bursinger scored her first goal of the day to make it 5-2 GVSU. UIndy got one back before the end of the half, but still trailed at the break.

The Greyhounds tied the game at five to begin the second half, but Ziegler scored another goal, putting the Lakers back in front, as she took a pass from Ellie Bernard and found the back of the net. UIndy scored twice more to take their first lead of the game at 7-6, but two more Laker goals to end the quarter, put them back out in front as Stone and Bursinger struck once more.

In the fourth quarter, the Greyhounds scored three straight to begin play as they took an 10-8 lead with just 3:12 remaining. From there the Lakers bounced back, winning three straight draw controls to gain possession, and Stone took advantage, scoring twice in a span of a minute and ten seconds, both of assists from Bursinger to get GVSU right back into the game and force the golden goal overtime period.

In overtime, UIndy won the draw, but the Laker defense did what it had done all day and held strong, forcing the Greyhounds into a shot clock violation. From there the offense took over and with the shot clock winding down, Champagne beat her defender on a drive, but was shoved from behind drawing a penalty. Off her free position attempt, she bounced it past the goalkeeper to move the Lakers on to next week's final four.

Sydney Stone scored four goals to lead the offense, while Molly Bursinger and Zoe Ziegler each had two. Maddy Champagne, Ashleigh Rothe, and Jill Dennison all scored one goal. Bursinger had two assists, and Champagne, Ella Boose, and Ellie Bernard all tallied one. Bursinger was a force in the draw control circle, winning 11 herself, as GVSU won the draws 16-9.

For the second straight game, Sarah Krause was phenomenal in the cage, once again setting a new career-high in saves at 12, as she also picked up two groundballs. The entire Laker defense was great in front of Krause as well, causing nine turnovers, with Kylie Waeghe, Boose, and Stone all forced two. Aislynn Alkire recorded three groundballs and Waeghe added two herself.

The win moves the Lakers on to the Final Four, where they will be the four seed and play top-seeded West Chester on Friday at 4:00 pm EST. The game will be played at the University of Indianapolis.