GVSU tops SVSU for 30th straight GLIAC win
Stevens' heroics propel No. 3 Lakers past No. 18 Cardinals
Grand Valley State University freshman forward Sara Stevens watched from the sidelines for more than 68 minutes while her teammates were locked in a physical, 0-0 stalemate with their GLIAC rivals of Saginaw Valley State University.
No. 18 SVSU was giving No. 3 GVSU all it could handle Sunday afternoon in Allendale, and – even though the Lakers seemed to be in control – they were unable to find the back of the net. Someone needed to make a play.
Stevens, who checked into the game at the 68:32 mark, didn’t wait long to make her presence felt.
A Kendra Stauffer pass rolled through the box from the right corner, eluded a shot attempt from junior forward Katie Bounds and landed on Steven’s foot just a few yards away from the net in the 73rd minute. Stevens patiently moved the ball around a defender, wound up, and delivered.
“For Sara to anticipate the miss hit is impressive, because Bounds has been so dynamic scoring goals lately that she hasn’t been missing frames very often,” said GVSU coach Jeff Hosler. “To read that, anticipate that and then also be prepared – because a lot of young players would try to hit that first time, but she had the wherewithal to take a touch around that desperate defender and create a better angle for the finish and calmly slide it in instead of trying to smash it somewhere – she showed a lot of maturity in that individual moment.”
The freshman’s third goal of the season proved to be the game winner as GVSU (11-1) won its 30th straight match against a GLIAC opponent by a final score of 2-0.
Stevens certainly made the most of her 16 minutes.
“It feels really good, especially since I didn’t get any playing time in the first half,” she said.
The Lakers, who finished with 11 shots on goal, didn’t have too many quality scoring chances in the match against one of the top defensive units in the conference.
But their patience paid off in the long run.
“Over the course of 90 minutes we wore them down,” Hosler said. “At the end of the first half and definitely the last 15 of the second they had a hard time matching our fitness level.
“A lot of it had to do with how much they had to chase defensively. As much as you’d like to score a goal early and alleviate some of that stress – soccer’s a funny game. Sometimes it takes late moments.”
Sophomore midfielder Marti Corby added an insurance tally in the 86th minute for her seventh goal of the season. Freshmen Gabriella Mencotti and Tracey McCoy both had an assist on the play, which all but sealed the deal for GVSU.
GVSU has now put together a stretch of 68 games without a loss in Allendale, which is one short of tying The College of New Jersey’s record for the fourth longest across all divisions of the NCAA.
Meanwhile, the Lakers need just one more GLIAC victory to tie the University of Central Missouri with the fifth-longest stretch of conference wins (31).
“It’s hard to get one win against good teams and to get 30 in a row is really a tremendous feat, particularly in our league,” said GVSU Director of Athletics Tim Selgo. “Our league is very good, and we’ve got a big target on our back so that’s really a great feat for our program.”
GVSU has a chance to tie both records Wednesday against Ferris State University in Allendale at 7 p.m.