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Soccer comes away with GLIAC title, moves on to regionals

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Photo: Eric Coulter / Grand Valley Lanthorn

GVL / Eric Coulter
The Soccer team gathers around the GLIAC Championship Trophy after beating the Cardinals 4-0.

A lot of words can describe the Grand Valley State University soccer team’s history in the GLIAC tournament, but the one most appropriate is the one spoken by Christopher “Ludacris” Bridges.

All they do is win.

On Friday, on a chilly evening at the Laker Soccer Complex, GVSU faced off against Ferris State University in the semifinal of the GLIAC Women’s Soccer Tournament.

“Those have always been our two goals.” said coach Dave DiIanni. “To win a GLIAC regular season championship and a GLIAC tournament championship.”

The Lakers started off, like so many games this season, heavily on the front foot. In the 9th minute, the Ferris State goalkeeper saved a Kayla Addison shot from close range to temporarily keep GVSU off the board.

After dominating possession for the first 15 minutes of play, GVSU finally found the net in the 15th minute in unusual fashion. After some clever play on the wing, a Laker cross found its way into the box, where a mis-timed punch from the Ferris State goalkeeper put the ball in the net for an own goal and an early 1-0 lead for GVSU. Eight minutes later, sophomore midfielder Charlie Socia slotted one home to put the Lakers two goals up going into halftime.

Grand Valley continued to pick apart the Ferris State defense in the second half, and walked away from the contest with a 4-0 win after Addison and senior Alyssa Mira netted goals for the Lakers to ensure their advancement into Sunday’s GLIAC final vs. Saginaw Valley State University.

GVSU picked up their goalscoring pace right where they left off in Sunday’s final. Saginaw Valley State defended diligently in the teams last matchup on a rainy night in September, holding the Lakers to a 0-0 tie, but this game was a different story.

It was a familiar sight in the 12th minute as forward Ashley Botts found the net, after a quick rebound found it’s way to the pragmatic feet of the senior giving the Lakers a 1-0 lead and making Saginaw Valley State change their defensive approach to the game.

“We wanted to score early to open them up,” Botts said. “When we did, they had to change their formation, you could hear their coach yelling ‘4-3-3’ to get them to change, and thats what we wanted to do.”

It didn’t take long for the Lakers to capitalize. Juane Odendaal picked out senior Erin Hilbert with a cross in the 19th minute, Hilbert headed the cross home to put the Lakers up 2-0.
“I saw Juane with the ball and I saw that nobody was on me,” Hilbert said. “So I just wanted to take the opportunity, and I did.”

A goal from senior Maria Brown after a nice ball from Botts gave the Lakers a 3-0 lead just four minutes later, and a goal from Autumn Jacobs effectively sealed the deal on the Laker’s fifth consecutive GLIAC Championship ten minutes before half time.

“Suprisingly, I wasn’t completely happy with the first half besides the goals.” DiIanni said. “In the second half, we did a better job, we milked the game, and at the end they were defeated.”

The Lakers didn’t score in the second half, but controlled possession to cruise to victory for their 48th straight unbeaten game at home and bring home the GLIAC championship trophy as they have every year since the GLIAC tournament began in 2008.

The Lakers being their run at an NCAA Championship in a regional game on Friday, with their opponent and location being announced in a draw on Monday.



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