Head coach Alicia Groveston enters her sixth year as the head coach of the Grand Valley State women's lacrosse team. GVSU Director of Athletics, Tim Selgo, announced that Groveston would be the program's first head coach back in January 2010.
Groveston currently holds a 66-26 record as head coach of the Lakers, along with a 32-1 mark against GLIAC opponents. Combined with her 12-4 mark as coach of Gannon in 2009, her overall record currently sits at 78-30 over the course of five years as a head coach.
In 2016, Groveston nabbed her fourth consecutive GLIAC Coach of the Year award while guiding the Lakers to a 15-5 overall record and 11-1 record against the conference. In addition to winning the GLIAC regular season and tournament titles for the fourth straight season, the Lakers made their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament for the first time when they were named the fourth-seed of the North Region. Grand Valley State stayed ranked inside the IWLCA Top 15 Coaches Poll all season long, being ranked as high as eighth and finishing the year ranked 12th. The highlight of the 2016 season was a 10-7 win to open the year over fifth-ranked and eventual National Champion Florida Southern. Grand Valley State finished the year third in the country in scoring offense (16.05 goals per game) and 18th in the country in scoring defense (8.55 goals per game). Groveston saw two of her players earn spots on the IWLCA All-America team for the second year in a row, with Erika Neumen earning Second Team honors and Caitlin Wojichowski receiving Third Team plaudits.
2015 was a big year for the Lakers, both on the field and in the standings. Groveston earned her third GLIAC Coach of the Year award as she guided the Lakers to a 15-4 overall record and 7-0 mark against conference competition, along with the team's third consecutive sweep of the GLIAC regular season and Tournament titles. Her Lakers aso notched their first two wins against ranked opponents in 2015: a 14-12 upset over #18 Indiana (Pa.) on March 9 and a 19-8 blowout over #12 Regis at GVSU Lacrosse Stadium on April 13. GVSU made their first appearance in the IWLCA polls, checking in at No. 20 in the preseason rankings and reaching as high as No. 13 before ending the year with a program-high No. 14 ranking in the final poll of the year. Grand Valley State finished the year third in the nation in scoring offense (15.68), fourth in draw controls (15.58), and fifth in scoring margin (8.37). Under Groveston's guidance, Erika and Alyssa Neumen became the first All-Americans in program history by being named to the Third Team by the IWLCA and the Synapse Sports Third Team for Erika. Both Neumens were also named IWLCA All-North Region Second Teamers.
In July 2015, Alicia was named the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches' Association (IWLCA) Division II North Region Coach of the Year for leading the Lakers to a program-best 15 wins and a national ranking of 14 in the end-of-the-year IWLCA Division II poll.
For the second straight season, Groveston was named GLIAC Coach of the Year in 2014. She guided the Lakers to an 8-0 mark in league play for their second consecutive GLIAC regular season title. GVSU also claimed a second straight GLIAC Tournament title. GVSU led the conference in goals-against average (6.94), goals per game (14.50) and assists (139) to go along with the second-most shots (560). With Groveston's help, junior Alyssa Neumen earned GLIAC Defender of the Year honors and became the program's first-ever IWLCA All-Region Second Team selection. Additionally, Ryan Skomial was named GLIAC Freshman of the Year. Under Groveston, the Lakers have never lost a conference game and only four of those contests have been decided by single digits. Overall, GVSU finished with an 13-5 mark, with four of those losses coming to teams ranked inside the top 10 of the latest IWLCA Poll.
Named the 2013 GLIAC Coach of the Year, Groveston led GVSU to the first-ever GLIAC regular season championship and tournament title. Under her guidance, senior Allyson Fritts earned Attacker of the Year and sophomore Alyssa Neumen was named the Defender of the Year, while three other Lakers garnered All-GLIAC honors. With Groveston on the sideline, GVSU posted a 13-5 record and an 8-0 mark in conference action in just the second season of varsity competition.
In her first year with the Lakers, Groveston coached GVSU to a 10-7 record, while guiding five players to spots on the Division II All-Independent teams. Groveston led the Lakers to their first road win against Converse College and an impressive first-ever home game in front of 1,812 fans in the brand new Laker Lacrosse Stadium.
Groveston was honored with the 2011 Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) Service Award at the annual IWLCA Meetings in Naples, Fla. The IWLCA Service Award is given to that individual who has committed themselves to the betterment of the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaching Association during the past year. Groveston earned the award after participating as the treasurer/secretary of Lax-4-Life, a national lacrosse campaign to provide and support programs geared toward adolescent and young adult suicide prevention awareness.
Prior to her arrival at GVSU, Groveston led Gannon University to a 12-4 record during the 2009 campaign and a final Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) ranking of No. 8. The Knights finished 5-3 in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC), but failed to make the PSAC Tournament on a tie-breaker. In addition to an outstanding season on the field, Gannon's 2009 lacrosse team earned the IWLCA Merit Award for having the second-best team GPA (3.34) in DII lacrosse.
Groveston spent the 2008 season as an assistant for Belmont Abbey when the Crusaders posted a 12-7 record, including a 7-4 conference mark against Conference Carolina opponents. The squad was also nationally-ranked throughout the season in the IWLCA Top 10 poll.
Groveston, an Academic All-American at Salisbury, spent three years prior to coaching at Belmont Abbey in private business. She started her coaching career as an assistant coach at Stephen Decatur High School in Berlin, Md. for two seasons where she coached two All-Americans and helped guide Stephen Decatur to the regional championship.
The Annapolis, Md., native had a stellar playing career in field hockey and lacrosse at Hartwick for two seasons, before transferring to Salisbury for her final two years of eligibility. At Salisbury, she earned All-Conference and Regional All-America honors as a senior defender. In the process, she led Salisbury to an NCAA Regional Championship appearance. Groveston also earned Academic All-Conference and Academic All-America honors as a senior.
She graduated magna cum laude from Salisbury in 2003 with a degree in Communication Arts/Mass Media. Groveston later received her MBA from Salisbury in 2004, graduating cum laude.
Rachel Ward enters her second year at Grand Valley State University as the Graduate Assistant Coach of the lacrosse team.
With Ward guiding the team as its offensive coach, the Lakers finished the season ranked third in the country in scoring offense with 16.05 goals per game and 321 total goals scored, both program records as the team qualified for the 2016 NCAA Tournament for the first time in team history.
Ward comes to Grand Valley State after finishing a four-year playing career at Lock Haven University. Ward played in 77 career games, scoring 147 points on 141 goals and six assists while recording 78 ground balls, winning 74 draw controls, and causing 22 turnovers as the Bald Eagles finished as runner-up in the NCAA Tournament in 2014 and 2015.
Ward received All-PSAC Second Team honors in 2015 and All-PSAC Third Team honors in 2013. She tallied 54 points on 52 goals and two assists, along with 11 draw control wins, eight ground balls, and two caused turnovers in 2015, and in 2013 she put up 35 goals and four assists for 39 points along with 22 ground balls, 10 draw control wins, and six caused turnovers.
In addition to playing for the Lock Haven women’s lacrosse team, Ward was a member of the Ireland Women’s Lacrosse National Team for the 2015 Women’s European Lacrosse Championship in the Czech Republic. Ward played in every game for Team Ireland, tallying 15 points on 14 goals and one assist.
Ward earned her Bachelor degree from Lock Haven University, graduating in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Recreation Management with a concentration in Fitness. At Lock Haven, she was a member of the Student-Athlete Honor Roll from 2012 to 2014 and made the Dean’s List in 2013.