Grand Valley Signs 8 to National Letters of Intent

ALLENDALE, Mich. - With its first official season quickly approaching, Grand Valley State and head coach Alicia Groveston announced the signing of eight student-athletes to National Letters of Intent (NLI) in the early signing period.

Taylor Bierwagen (Jamesville, N.Y.), Farren Billand (Carmel, Ind.), Stephanie Howell (Mt. Airy, Md.), Samantha Martin (Laurel, Md.), Olivia Mickevicius (Alexandria, Va.), Nicole Tague (Okemos, Mich.), Caitlin Wojichowski (Milford, Mich.) and Chloe Zdybel (Okemos, Mich.) will join the Lakers for the 2013 season.

"Our staff is very excited to have these eight outstanding student-athletes as our class of 2012," said Groveston. "They each bring a variety of skills that we envision will have an immediate impact on our program. Their drive, determination, work ethic, and athleticism will help us elevate our new program to the highest level of Division II lacrosse."

A two-time All-League selection, Bierwagen is a three-year member of the Jamesville-DeWitt program under head coach Phil Luckette. She is a two-time Scholar Athlete honoree for both lacrosse and volleyball, while leading the lacrosse team to three league championships. Bierwagen has 104 goals, 52 assists and 87 ground balls in her three seasons with the Red Rams.

Billand is a three-year defender at Guerin Catholic, coached by her father Brian Billand. She was a 2010 All-North Central Region defender and the team's Defensive Player of the Year. In 2011, she was again named to the North Central All-Region team. Billand owns three goals, four assists and 57 caused turnovers in her three seasons.

A four-year member of Hero's Lacrosse Club, Howell will join the Lakers as a defender. She participates in field hockey as well and is a member of Best Buddies at South Carroll. Howell led the South Carroll Cavaliers to a regional final in her junior season.

Martin is a four-year member of the Institute of Notre Dame (IND) lacrosse program under head coach Amy Conly. She is a two-year captain for IND and also plays club lacrosse with Hero's under Kathy Black. The defender plans to major in political science.

Mickevicius is a three-year member of the West Potomac High School squad and the Supernova Club team. She was named the captain in her junior and senior seasons as well as earning the Athletic Scholar Award in 2010 and 2011. Mickevicius also plays field hockey and was named an All-District and All-Region selection.

A two-time All-Conference selection, Tague is a three-year member of the Okemos Chiefs squad under head coach Bill Prahler. She led the Chiefs to back-to-back state championships in her first two seasons with Okemos. During her junior season, Tague tallied a team-high 64 assists.

Wojichowski plays for Huron Valley under coach Tara Johnson. In 2010, she earned an All-Kensington Lakes Athletic Association (KLAA) Honorable Mention, while being named to the second team in her junior season. She is a KLAA scholar athlete and academic All-State and All-American honoree. Wojichowski led the team in assists in her junior season and was third in goals her sophomore year.

Tague's teammate, Zdybel is also a three-year letterwinner at Okemos. She helped Okemos to two straight Division II State Championships her freshman and sophomore seasons. In her junior season, Zdybel was named an All-State first team selection while also earning All-League and All-Academic honors.

"Each of these young ladies is committed to helping our lacrosse program achieve the Grand Valley State tradition of success both on the field and off," said Groveston. "We are eager to see just how much they can achieve in the classroom and on the lacrosse field."

GVSU opens its season with a trip to North and South Carolina before returning to its brand new field on March 16 at 4:00 p.m. against Lindenwood.


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