ALLENDALE, Mich. — The Grand Valley women's basketball team will have a new look to it this season.
The Lakers lose their top six scorers to graduation from a season ago, as they now look to replace the program's all-time winningest class.
"Every day, that was an incredible group," said junior guard and Caledonia high school alum, Sammy Gehrls, "they were extremely competitive and hard working."
After a 28-3 overall record last season behind the leadership of several seniors, the current players are trying to carry on their legacy.
"When you have a group like them and those kind of leaders, what they bring to you doesn't leave when they graduate," added Pewamo-Westphalia alum and junior guard, Emily Spitzley, "the leadership, hard work, and IQ for the game stays with us."
With five freshman on the roster and only two seniors, sixth year head coach Mike Williams understands his team make take some lumps this season.
"You don't lose the class you lost, the minutes they logged and not have growing pains," he said, "I think this group has done a good job waiting for their time, the freshmen coming in are a talented group."
At Grand Valley, there's always pressure to be successful in women's basketball, but especially after last season's success and accolades of the senior class.
"There's always going to be a bit of pressure," Gehrls admitted, "but at the end of the day, I know I believe in every single one of my teammates and each girl on the team is extremely talented, I'm excited for what we have to offer."
The team is being rapidly tested for COVID-19 six times a week which is paid for by the university, which is allowing them to play safely.
However, with limited practices and a season opener on Friday night, the players have no idea what to expect.
"We have no idea," laughed Gehrls, "but we have been putting in a lot of work and working well together. We're just going to put our best foot forward and see what happens."
The team will play a modified 18 game regular season as they still hope to be in the conversation for a GLIAC championship.
"We just have a group of girls that have worked really hard," Spitzley said, "we have transfers and the freshmen coming in, we're coming together really nicely."
The Lakers will open at Saginaw Valley State on Friday night.