GVSU soccer tops Quincy in NCAA playoff second round
Riga, Maresh lead Lakers to 6-0 win at home on Sunday
The No. 1 seed Grand Valley State women’s soccer team hosted a second-round NCAA tournament match on Sunday against the No. 4 seed Quincy Hawks.
The Lakers (20-1) defeated the Hawks 6-0, thanks to offensive firepower from five different players and a solid performance from freshman goalkeeper Emily Maresh.
“Emily was fantastic today,” said GVSU head coach Jeff Hosler. “She came up absolutely huge for us in the first half.”
Maresh made seven total saves on Sunday. Her shutout performance gave the team its 10th straight shutout. The Lakers have not allowed a goal since Oct. 4.
“It was definitely different from most of our games because the team was a lot better,” Maresh said. “It was a really big competition today because we lost to them at the beginning of the season.”
The previous meeting between the two schools was drastically different. The Hawks were able to shutout the Lakers on Quincy's home field back in early September with a 3-0 win. Since then, the Lakers have rattled off 20 straight wins, including Sunday’s victory.
“We’ve had three months to work on the things we needed to get better at,” Hosler said. “We’ve had other players come along in the attack that weren’t a part of it at the beginning of the season.”
The Laker attack was on full display Sunday, and was led by another freshman. Forward Samantha Riga ignited the offense with back-to-back goals less than two minutes apart in the first half.
“I’m so excited,” Riga said. “This is one of the biggest reasons I came to this school. Not many people can say they have a chance to play for a national championship. This is what the program is made of.”
Riga’s skill helped other Lakers join the offensive barrage later in the match. Junior Gabriella Mencotti scored her 10th goal of the season to end the first half and put the Lakers up 3-0.
The second half was the time for the veterans to take over the match and seal the deal for the Lakers.
Junior Kendra Stauffer continued her career-best campaign with her 14th goal of the season.
Seniors Katie Bounds and Maddison Reynolds both broke through with late goals to help GVSU advance to the NCAA Midwest Regional Championship.
Senior Katie Klunder and junior Marti Corby each recorded two assists on the day.
The Lakers did what they normally do to overpower opponents in matches of this magnitude -- shoot the ball on net as much as possible.
GVSU tallied 35 total shots, 13 of which were on goal, while QU only recorded nine shots, but seven were on net. The Lakers also held the advantage in the corner kick department 8-3.
The Lakers now will travel to Warrensburg, Missouri for a match against Bellarmine University for the regional title. The Knights (17-2-2) defeated No. 23 Truman State in the previous round and are the second seed in GVSU’s bracket.
“Bellarmine is a very good side,” Hosler said. “They return the vast majority of their starters from last year’s team that we saw in this round of the NCAA tournament last year.”
If the Lakers can hold on to defeat Bellarmine, they will either match up against another No. 1 seed in Central Missouri or No. 2 seed Minnesota State University-Mankato.
GVSU is no stranger to either of these potential foes, especially MSU-M, which the Lakers defeated 2-1 on Sept. 13.