No. 10 GVSU clinches share of GLIAC crown
Lakers fight for 3-0 home win over Walsh on Senior Day
GVSU junior midfielder Katie Klunder (#2)
Six seniors laced up for the last time in the regular season for Grand Valley State University on Saturday afternoon. The Lakers squared off against Walsh University (8-5-5, 5-4-3 GLIAC) in the final game of the regular season, closing the campaign with a 3-0 win.
Prior to the game, standard Senior Day festivities were carried out. Andrea Strauss, Juane Odendaal, Alyssa Wesley, Kaely Schlosser, Charlie Socia and Jenny Shaba were recognized at midfield before kickoff.
A goaltender, three defenders, a midfielder and a forward. The majority of the group has been a part of a national championship, three regionals titles, four GLIAC championships and a whole lot of wins.
“It’s definitely weird (to be done), it’s kind of like a culminating thing,” Wesley said. “Our season is coming to an end and our journey for soccer is coming to an end.
“It’s also exciting because this is the part of the season where we get to look forward to tournaments and playing really good teams.”
Saturday’s tilt added one final regular season win to the group’s total.
GVSU (15-2-1, 10-1-1 GLIAC) got off to a slow start. The Lakers held constant possession, but a sloppy, uninspired offense stymied any goal-scoring visions GVSU had.
In the 29th minute, sophomore Marti Corby did things on her own. Corby – standing atop the 18-yard box – hit a bouncing ball with a strong left foot, driving it low into the corner past Walsh goaltender Dani Shambaugh.
The Lakers maintained pressure, hitting two posts but failing to strike gold. With 12 minutes remaining in the half, Walsh’s Emily Durina collided full-speed with GVSU’s Gabbie Guibord. Play resumed, but seconds later, tempers flared.
Away from the ball, Durina gave Guibord’s hair a yank. Guibord spun around, and the two quickly dealt blows to one another. The altercation ended in matching red cards, setting the rest of the match up to be played 10 on 10.
“(Going 10 on 10) benefits us as we pride ourselves on our fitness level,” said GVSU head coach Jeff Hosler. “I think we’re very good in wide open spaces but you hate to see anyone sent off – especially someone as valuable as Gabbie has been to us this year.”
With less than five minutes remaining in the half, the Lakers pieced together a quality goal. Shaba lofted a corner kick into the box, where Schlosser got a head on it, directing it bar-down and in to give GVSU a 2-0 lead. The senior-to-senior goal put a cap on the first half scoring.
GVSU continued to dictate the flow in the second half. The Lakers struck again in the 59th minute, as Odendaal sent a deep cross into the box. Shaba soared in and struck a solid header goal for her seventh of the season.
The rest of the game ended uneventfully as GVSU clinched at least share of its 10th consecutive GLIAC championship. Goaltender Andrea Strauss made three saves to finish the regular season with a clean sheet, as GVSU outshot Walsh 34-3.
Ohio Dominican University also won its last game, earning a share of the conference championship. The win gives ODU the top seed in the GLIAC Tournament because the Panthers beat GVSU 1-0 in Allendale on Oct. 17.
Some may think the Lakers would have a chip on their shoulders due to the loss, but Odendaal sees it differently.
“If you think about it, every team is going to give us a run for our money,” she said. “They know they can beat us because we have been beat. It’s about us going out there with a positive attitude and good leadership skills.”
GVSU will host a quarterfinal match at home on Tuesday. The Lakers will be without Guibord who will have to serve a one-game suspension due to her red card. The booking was classified as a fighting penalty, meaning that Guibord could miss two games pending league ruling.
The midfielder has made 15 starts and posted 11 points for GVSU this season.