GVSU blanks Ashland after rare home loss
It was a sight to behold on Friday night as the Ohio Dominican University women’s soccer team joined together in a screaming mass under the lights and rain. The team celebrated like they won a championship.
What actually happened was nearly just as rare.
Grand Valley State University fell 1-0 to ODU, marking the first time since 2008 that the Lakers lost a game on home turf. A lackluster offensive performance and a failure to capitalize doomed GVSU, which snapped a 69-game unbeaten streak in Allendale.
“(This game) reflects that you have to earn everything that you get,” said head coach Jeff Hosler. “There didn’t seem to be an overwhelming sense of want in our team… The two games that we’ve lost, that has been apparent. They’ve wanted it more desperately than we did.”
The Friday night tilt against ODU started with a drizzle, progressed to steady rainfall and finished in driving sheets. The Lakers dominated the flow of the game, tallying nine first half shots to the Panthers’ one. The best scoring chance came less than two minutes in when senior Charlie Socia rang a deep strike off the crossbar. Later, Gabriella Mencotti uncharacteristically failed to put home a breakaway shot, and the game went into the half knotted 0-0.
For the first 12 minutes of the second half, GVSU still seemed to be in control. Then, in a moment, the script was flipped. ODU sent a cross into the box. A shot went on net, was rejected, and the second try was put home by the Panthers’ Jordan Mazzi.
Just like that, GVSU was losing. At home.
Over the next 33 minutes, ODU was content to sit back on defense and deny GVSU any clean looks at the net. The Lakers pressed and pressed, but couldn’t seem to find a legitimate scoring chance. When the final horn sounded, it was official: 1-0 in favor of Ohio Dominican. GVSU’s Division II record home-unbeaten streak was no more.
“We had a team meeting, and we told each other we had to step it up,” said junior Katie Klunder.
The Lakers wasted no time getting on the scoreboard on Sunday’s match against Ashland University, as Klunder evaded the Ashland keeper and slotted a shot into the open net to give GVSU a 1-0 lead just eight minutes in. Ten minutes later, midfielder Marti Corby fired a shot from the top of the circle that went untouched into the twine. Katie Bounds and Mencotti notched assists on Corby’s ninth goal of the season.
The Lakers maintained possession and pressure from the start of the second half onward. Senior Jenny Shaba slid to the pitch at the top of the box, but managed to get a solid strike on the ball to beat the keeper as GVSU widened the lead to 3-0.
GVSU struck again with 14 minutes remaining in the game as senior Alyssa Wesley knocked in a header off a Shaba corner kick, and the Lakers were comfortably ahead for good.
“I thought we played really well,” Corby said. “We were crisp and clean making passes and connecting… Good combinations resulted in lots of good chances.”
Senior goaltender Andrea Strauss posted her eighth clean sheet of the season in GVSU’s 4-0 win. GVSU outshot Ashland 28-7.
The Lakers will take a lengthy road trip to the Upper Peninsula next weekend as they take on Northern Michigan and Michigan Tech.