No. 1 GVSU downs Ashland to win GLIAC title
Mencotti, Corby lead GVSU to eighth consecutive conference championship
Since 2008, the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) has hosted eight postseason tournaments. The Grand Valley State women's soccer team has hoisted the trophy in every single one.
The National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) No. 1 GVSU women’s soccer team (19-1, 12-0 GLIAC) won its eighth straight GLIAC tournament title on Sunday afternoon, rolling over the Ashland Eagles 5-0 at home.
“It’s nice to get another GLIAC conference and tournament title,” said senior defender Katy Woolley. “It’s a good thing to give us confidence and to keep going through the rest of the year.”
The Lakers used a 3-0 victory in their semifinal match Friday night against Ohio Dominican to propel them to Sunday’s title match.
The Eagles did what many other teams in the GLIAC had trouble doing all season against the Lakers -- playing hard for a full 90 minutes.
“I thought we were off to a slow start today,” said GVSU head coach Jeff Hosler. “We were a little lethargic, but picked it up late in the half.”
The Lakers and Eagles met once during the regular season in Ashland, Ohio. At the time, the Eagles boasted an undefeated record and the top spot in the GLIAC standings. GVSU snatched both of those titles away from the Eagles in one half in the regular season tilt, as GVSU scored all five of the match’s goals. The Lakers went on to hand the Eagles its first loss of the season 5-0 and overtake the top spot in the GLIAC for good.
The first goal of Sunday’s match did not occur until the 38th minute of the first half, when GVSU forward Gabriella Mencotti struck the ball past the Eagles' keeper to give the Lakers a lead they would never relinquish. Junior Kendra Stauffer was awarded the assist following a cross to Mencotti.
“Kenny (Stauffer) beat her defender, she took it right to the end line just like we’ve been practicing,” Mencotti said. “She played a perfect ball across and I just had to take a touch and finish it.”
The second half started faster than the first. GVSU freshman Samantha Riga scored a tip-in goal from an assist by senior Katie Klunder off a cross-in pass within the first five minutes of the half.
About 10 minutes later, junior Marti Corby finished off a deflection. Her 22nd goal of the season made it 3-0 and put the match out of reach.
Freshman Hannah Phommavongsa had a memorable moment late in the second half, as she scored her first career goal as a Laker. She also connected with Corby minutes later for her first assist.
The Lakers outshot the Eagles 35-9 and once again controlled the corner kick numbers, 7-0, throughout the match.
The lack of goals scored against the Lakers continues to be the catalyst for GVSU's success. The last time the Lakers allowed a goal dates back to Oct. 4.
Freshman goalkeeper Emily Maresh recorded her ninth straight individual shutout of the season. The Laker faithful also received good news, when junior defender Clare Carlson took the field Sunday. Carlson had missed the past few matches due to an undisclosed injury.
The offense for the Lakers, however, is not overshadowed in the winning equation. GVSU has outscored its opponents 90-7 this season, including the GLIAC tournament.
The Lakers now prepare for the Division II NCAA tournament. With its No. 1 ranking, GVSU will likely end up hosting a first-round tournament match in Allendale. The first-round match will take place Nov. 13.
“Our conference is full of some good teams and some very good individual players,” Hosler said. “Having played those teams, it gives us a lot of confidence.”
Corby, Mencotti, Riga and midfielder Dani Johnson were named to the GLIAC All-Tourney team following GVSU's win.