Trio of defenders help Grand Valley get off to good start
A lot of the success of the Grand Valley girls lacrosse team comes from balance.
Amy Flukey, Bri True, Bailey Clark and Mikayla Clark take care of the scoring. The Lightning (8-0) averages 11 goals per game and has scored in double figures in seven games.
On the other side of the field, the defense of third man Maria LeFebre, coverpoint Pam Stevens and point Rachel Romine shut teams down.
“Defensively, they want to close out and not even let the other team’s offense players get near the eight-meter arc,” Grand Valley coach Robin Stevens said. “They have to be able to watch what is going on at all times, and some people don’t have that type of attention span.”
LeFebre, Stevens and Romine are the line of defense protecting Lightning goalie Stephanie Long. With Long’s skills in goal and the three defenders’ play, the Lightning allow fewer than four goals a game.
Although each defensive player has her specific duties, it’s the teamwork of the three that has made the defense so tough this season.
“There is a lot of communication to make sure the players on the other team are all guarded,” Romine said. “This year it’s been a lot better because we have grown together as a team, and gotten more comfortable with each other.”
At the point position, Romine’s duty is to guard the other team’s first home, usually the most aggressive scorer. Romine’s experience in basketball makes the point position a natural fit.
“When I played basketball, I was mostly a defender,” said Romine, who will play softball at Mesa State next spring. “So I like preventing shots, getting in people’s faces and turning the ball over.”
Pam Stevens’ responsibility is covering the opponents’ second home, considered the playmaker. Second home not only looks to score, but also attempts to set up the first home.
Stevens began as an offensive player, but after trying coverpoint she knew that was a better fit.
“I began playing coverpoint in practice, and really liked it,” Stevens said. “I like working with the goalie and communicating with the other defensive players.”
Like Stevens, LeFebre started out on offense before switching to defense. At third man, she’s the first line of defense and attempts to keep opponents from reaching Romine and Stevens.
“My goal is to not them get anywhere close to the goal,” LeFebre said. “Defense is a lot of fun because there are games where the other team only gets two or three points, and that’s the best feeling.”
Robin Stevens said she has been impressed with the defense but still sees room for improvement in the final three games, beginning Tuesday against Eagle Valley.
“I have been happy, but I told them I want less shots on goal,” the coach said. “Stephanie does a great job, but the more shots that take place, the more possibility they go in.”