GVSU takes care of Malone in GLIAC tournament
Lakers outshoot Pioneers 40-1, Stauffer dishes out three assists
Fresh off of winning the GLIAC regular season title, top-seeded Grand Valley State (17-1, 14-0 GLIAC) went back to work Tuesday night in the opening round of the GLIAC tournament against eighth-seeded Malone (7-13, 5-8 GLIAC).
The Lakers took an easy win, 6-0 to advance to the semifinal round.
The Pioneers were overmatched by a superior Laker team that controlled the ball for the entirety of the game. GVSU had 21 shots on goal, while the Pioneers had just one shot, which did not go on net.
As has been the norm this season, the Lakers didn’t allow a single corner kick, taking a 15-0 advantage on the set pieces.
“We talk all the time about our players being problem solvers, not problem identifiers, because soccer is a game where coaches don’t have timeouts to set up a play or reorganize,” said GVSU head coach Jeff Hosler. “I thought today in the first half was the first time we’ve done that in a while.
Senior Katie Klunder got things started with a goal on a cross from the left baseline just over five minutes into the game. Two minutes later, junior Jayma Martin added another goal from the middle of the box to give the Lakers a quick 2-0 advantage.
The Lakers got two more goals in the first half, courtesy Marti Corby and Gabriella Mencotti. In the second half, Kendra Stauffer and Samantha Riga added goals of their own.
Stauffer had a big night for the Lakers, racking up three assists to go with her goal.
“She was taking players on, she was a little more eager to get in behind the back line today, which is how she ultimately scored,” Hosler said. “(Kendra) is active. She’s on the ball and wants to get at goal. She is awfully difficult to stop.”
Laker goalkeeper Emily Maresh didn’t see any action in net, as the only Malone shot of the night sailed wide. Maresh has become accustomed to strong defensive play from the rest of the team.
“Obviously our defense has been playing really well lately,” she said. “We’re a solid back line, and the girls have just been really able to connect with the center-mids and the forwards. They haven’t let much get past them. Them being really organized has really helped the team.”
With the win, GVSU advances to the semifinal round to play No. 4 Ohio Dominican (10-8, 8-4 GLIAC) on Friday. The Panthers defeated No. 5 Northern Michigan 3-0 in the first round.
Despite GVSU's lopsided victory, Hosler thinks his team has plenty to work on.
“It’s going to be creativity of movement on and off the ball, finishing our chances we have, because I don’t think we’ll see as many chances as we’ve had the last two matches,” he said. “We’ve got to be more organized defensively. Everything was so offensive-minded the last two matches, or defensive organization wasn’t as good.
“Ohio Dominican is a team (that) will make you pay for that.”
GVSU defeated ODU on the road 3-0 earlier this season. Should the Lakers win on Friday, they’ll play the winner of No. 2 Ferris State and No. 3 Ashland in the tournament championship match.
As the top seed and presumed favorite, complacency can doom even the best of teams. With the Lakers, however, Maresh says they know what the focus is, and it’ll be business as usual Friday night.
“We’re definitely taking it day-by-day,” she said. “Coach is really big on the day you’re in, worrying about the practice you’re in, not looking for next week or the game after that. You’re playing for the game you’re in right now.”