Soccer improves undefeated record after 2-0 weekend in Minn.
Last season, juniors Ashley Botts, Kayla Addison and Maria Brown scored over 70 percent of the goals for the Grand Valley State University women’s soccer team. This season, some fresh faces are looking to add to the impressive goal tally that those now-seniors already have in spades.
This season, after the Lakers left Minnesota with a two-game sweep of the University of Minnesota-Duluth and Minnesota State University this weekend.
“We are a little deeper up top,” said head coach Dave DiIanni. “We’re hoping to be a little bit more consistent then we’ve been up to this point. But there are players that are going to step in when others aren’t getting the job done, whether that be by effort, or scoring goals.”
After Addison, Botts and Brown took care of their own business by each scoring in the Laker’s 3-1 season-opening win against No. 3 Armstrong Atlantic, some younger players began to get on the scoresheet as well.
On Friday night in Mankato, Minn. freshman forward Katie Bounds needed only three shots to bury two second-half goals to seal the Lakers’ 5-0 victory against Minnesota-Duluth, her first two goals as a Laker.
“It was awesome,” said the freshman from Southfield, Mich. “Scoring two goals does give me more confidence, but is also makes me realize that I can’t stop working hard.”
Bounds, however, wasn’t the only freshman getting in on the action. Her fellow freshman Casey McMillan has also scored her first pair of collegiate goals in the first four games of the new season.
“It’s always great to see newcomers getting some goals on the board,” Botts said. “Whenever we can be a difficult team to defend all over the board the better. We want to be a threat all over the place so when others score it gives us better depth and more opportunities as a team.”
The team found themeselves in a battle on Sunday at Minnesota State. The Lakers drew even with the Mavericks in the scoreless affair, but the leadership shown by the seniors on and off the field has been a key to the team’s early-season success.
“I think, as a senior, you need to push yourself to be a great leader and role model to the younger girls to make sure you teach them something before your time is done,” Botts said. “Being my last season, I am trying to help teach some of the girls a couple of the things I have learned over my 3 seasons and to just work hard and show them our expectation level.”
According to Bounds, Botts and the seniors are doing a wonderful job.
“They’re the best girls to learn from,” she said. “I have learned to be more of a team player. To be unselfish, yet aggressive and to play for and support each other. But don’t expect the seniors to pass the torch just yet.”
Botts, Addison and Brown have scored six goals combined over the Lakers’ first four games, with Brown adding 3 assists. Although none of them could find the net in Sundaydraw against Minnesota State, Senior goalkeeper Chelsea Parise made nin3 saves to break Grand Valley State University’s womens soccer shutout record with 64.
“Chelsea managed the game very well, she was asked to make one very special save that kept us in the game.” DiIanni said. “The rest was about managing the game and about doing her job and she did her job well.”
If the Laker forwards young and old continue to score goals like they have been during the first four games, and senior goalkeeper Chelsea Parise continues to perform like she did on Sunday, the Lakers could be well on their way to a fourth-consecutive Final Four appearance.
The Lakers try to remain unbeaten with a five-game homestand beginning Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. vs. Ferris State University.