GVSU men's club soccer falls in regional playoffs
Lakers lose to Loyola University Chicago to end 2015 campaign
GVL/Kevin Sielaff Noah Reiber dribbles around a defender. Grand Valley's club soccer team squares off against Central Michigan Sept. 12 at the intramural field.
The end of the 2015 season was all-too-familiar for the Grand Valley State men’s club soccer team. The Lakers were bounced from the Midwest Alliance Soccer Conference (MASC) regional tournament by losing in a shootout for the second year in a row. GVSU fell to Loyala University Chicago in the third game of the tournament as its season drew to a close.
On Saturday, the Lakers played their first game of the MASC tournament against the University of Cincinnati. The Bearcats sent the Lakers home last year in a shootout in the MASC tournament.
This year GVSU came out with a different outcome in mind, and dusted off the previously undefeated Bearcats with a 1-0 victory.
“Everybody was very very happy, not going to lie, to beat them and do what we did, they haven’t lost a game all year, and to beat them we were all very pleased,” said GVSU head coach Jeff Crooks.
Junior Russell Reichenbach was the hero for the Lakers, scoring off a set play with roughly 10 minutes left in the match.
“I think coming in everyone was pretty focused and everyone knew what we had to do and that they were the No. 1 team and everyone stuck together,” said midfielder Robert Klein. “I think we defended really well and stayed patient and got a goal in the end.”
Fewer than two hours later, the Lakers were back on the field, taking on the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse. With no information on the team, the Lakers didn’t know what to expect, but quickly saw what UW-L was capable of.
“We were tired to start,” Crooks said. “It’s a tough thing to play those two games like that and we were really tired and made a mistake and they scored a nice goal.”
With about 10 minutes to go in the match, UW-L extended its lead to 2-0, but the Lakers answered right back with a header goal from midfielder Paul Bump.
“I think they were better than we thought they were going to be,” Bump said. “We held the ball a lot, we just weren’t able to make those runs at the defense and get a goal until late when we got a header off a cross, but at that point it was already 2-0 and we were pressing and they caught us off guard.”
After the loss, the Lakers were unsure if they would play again in 2015, but were given another chance and took on Loyola University Chicago on Sunday morning. A win, and GVSU could keep its season alive. A loss, and it was over.
“We scored in the first three minutes, a real nice ball,” Crooks said. “Went across the goal and touched it home and we were up 1-0 and were pretty much in control the whole first half and the second half came out and didn’t play too bad.”
In the second half, the Lakers fell victim to what Crooks said was a “silly mistake” between the goalkeeper and defensive backs, and LUC was able to take advantage and notch a goal. Tied 1-1 going into overtime, GVSU and LUC went scoreless through the extra frame to go to penalty kicks, where LUC won 3-1 to take the game and end GVSU's season.
The Lakers are off until January, when they will start winter training. In the spring, the team will play some games, but the 2016 season won’t officially start until August.