Soccer continues shutout streak with weekend sweep
No matter what Mother Nature, the schedule or its opponents seem to throw at them lately, nothing seems to be able to score on the Grand Valley State University women’s soccer team.
That didn’t change this weekend as the Lakers took Saginaw Valley State University, 0-0 and Northwood, 3-0.
On Friday night, in a rainy and slippery affair. GVSU and Saginaw Valley State played to a 0-0 stalemate in a game that was marked by sloppy possession by both teams.
The Lakers’ best chance came early. After some nice interplay in the opponents’ box, the ball made its way to the feet of sophomore Charlie Socia in front of goal, but her shot went high.
The rest of the first half saw Saginaw Valley State pull many players behind the ball in an effort to stifle the Laker attack. Despite sneaking through the compact Saginaw Valley State defense for eight shots in the first half, the Lakers couldn’t find the net.
It was more of the same in the second half, GVSU dominated possession and the opponent seemed content to let the Lakers pass the ball around and wait for the home team to commit an error that they could capitalize on.
The error that Saginaw Valley State was hoping for, however, was never committed by the Lakers, and the 90 minutes of regulation ended without a goal.
In overtime, the lack of depth from the Cardinals became evident. Saginaw Valley State only used one substitute for the entire 110 minutes of the match, and in the extra period, the Lakers began to pick apart the Cardinal defense for a few more chances. Chances came and went for the Lakers in overtime without any change on the scoreboard until the last few seconds of the match, when a hopeful shot from senior Maria Brown hit the underside of the crossbar but stayed out.
“I got a great cross,” Brown said. “I thought it was a good look, but it just hit the crossbar. It was very unlucky.”
The Lakers had a similar amount of possessions on Sunday against Northwood, but with a dryer field to move the ball around on, they made their chances count.
“We played with more urgency in attack,” said coach Dave DiIanni. “Northwood came out and played a little bit, as opposed to Saginaw decided they just wanted to get a tie.”
GVSU started off on the right foot by playing more directly against a weaker Northwood team on Sunday afternoon, taking advantage of the dryer weather to create plenty of chances in the opening minutes.
“I thought Botts and (Kayla) Addison played well today,” DiIanni said. “It’s important for our better players to play well. Maria (Brown) played well as well. I feel like we had more of a fighter mentality in attack”
In the 3rd minute, senior Ashley Botts seemed to be alone on goal but some persistent work from a Northwood defender kept her from getting a shot off inside the 6-yard box. An unsuccessful breakaway from Kayla Addison and a pair of point blank saves from the Northwood goalkeeper on Botts’ efforts temporarily kept the Lakers off the scoresheet.
In the 19th minute, the Lakers’ consistent pressure finally gave them the lead after Maria Brown deflected a corner kick to give the home team a 1-0 lead.
The Lakers didn’t let up. 5 minutes later, Jenny Shaba got on the end of a cross to put one past the Northwood keeper from just a few yards out.
The Lakers were kept out of the net for the rest of the first half, helping Northwood University by roaming offsides on plenty of occasions.
“Their back line was really shallow, we were trying to get in behind them a little more.” DiIanni said. “It was the nature of the game we were playing, but there a few players who could have been more alert in timing there runs.”
As the Lakers improved to 7-0-2 on the season, Senior goalkeeper Chelsea Parise got her 50th and 51st shutouts of her collegiate career, although she didn’t have many saves to make in either contest.
“Even though I didn’t have to make many saves, I still was doing my job vocally.” Parise said. “The shutouts don’t matter, it’s all about the team getting the win.”
The Laker women look to stay undefeated on their 5 game road trip that begins Friday at Malone. They return to Allendale to take on Northern Michigan University on Oct. 19 at 7 p.m.