No. 2 ranked Lakers remain unbeaten, set sights on Minnestoa
After their season-opening victory over No.3 ranked Armstrong Atlantic State University, the Grand Valley State University women’s soccer team avoided a letdown with a 4-1 win over the University of Indianapolis.
The Lakers completed the Grand Valley State Kickoff Tournament undefeated with a 2-0 record, but head coach David Dilanni wasn’t entirely pleased with his team’s performance against Indianapolis compared to their matchup with Armstrong Atlantic State.
“I just didn’t think the game had as much energy and magnitude,” he said. “Consequently, we don’t think we played as well either. I think some of that was to be expected when there’s such a buildup when the No. 2 and the No. 3 teams play.”
GVSU dominated the ball in the beginning of the match, taking seven corner kicks and six shots in the opening 25 minutes of the game. However, the Lakers weren’t able to put one in the back of the net until the 42nd minute when sophomore Jenny Shaba‘s goal gave the Lakers a 1-0 lead. GVSU added to their lead over a minute later when freshman Katie Bounds assisted senior Maria Brown who scored in the lower corner to send GVSU to halftime with a 2-0 lead.
Indianapolis was stifled by the Lakers defense in the first half as the Greyhounds were not able to record a single shot in the first half and took only one corner kick.
“Our defense is working really hard to communicate with each other, and know what’s going on in front of you and behind you,” said senior Alyssa Mira. “It’s just a matter of the defenders communicating with each other and helping each other.”
Freshman Casey McMillan padded the GVSU lead when she beat her defender to the right side of the ball and then sent it into the back of the net in the 67th minute. Sophomore Cassandra Willshire proceeded to give the Lakers an insurance goal in the 83rd minute, securing a 4-1 victory.
For Shaba, McMillan and Willshire it was their first goals of their GVSU career. Dilanni was pleased to see his young players score, and sees this as an opportunity for the Lakers to expand their depth in their roster.
“It means we have an opportunity to be deeper,” he said. “We can rely on more players in important times throughout the season. You never know what’s going to happen in terms of injuries and things like that, so it was very exciting to see.
Next up for the Lakers is a weekend trip to Mankato, Minn. where they will meet the University of Minnesota Duluth and No. 24 Minnesota State University. Dilanni and the Lakers are looking forward to the challenge and to improve in certain areas.
“Doesn’t get any easier for us, that’s for sure,” he said. “Both teams are going to be very challenging for us, physically and athletically. We’re going to have to play very smart defensively in defending their forwards, but playing under the pressure they’ll present us. I think it’s going to be an opportunity where we need to capitalize on our chances with our forwards for us to win those games. I think we can do it, but it’ll require us to be a more complete team in both these games.”