GVSU downs Columbus State 3-0 in semifinal
The Lakers advance to fourth straight national championship
In a rematch of the 2015 NCAA Finals, the Grand Valley State women’s soccer team faced off against Columbus State in the NCAA Semifinals, and like last season, the Lakers bested the Cougars, this time by one more goal.
The Lakers beat Columbus State 3-0 to move onto to the team’s fourth straight NCAA National Championship.
Similar to last year’s game, the Cougars pressed the Lakers from the start of the match. For the first 25 minutes, the ball stayed exclusively in GVSU’s defensive zone, with the Lakers attempting zero shots.
“Grand Valley has given up zero first-half goals all season, and we knew that,” said Columbus State coach Jay Entlich. “Our goal was to try to dictate play, we’ve scored a lot of first-half goals, (and) it just didn’t happen for us today.”
Although the Cougars dominated possession, the GVSU defense thwarted every scoring opportunity.
“We were expecting it every bit the same as last year,” said GVSU coach Jeff Hosler. “The way we absorbed pressure, (Columbus State was) no question dangerous going forward, but I don’t think they had that one dangerous opportunity.”
Later in the half, the Lakers started to gain momentum and created more scoring chances. Forward Gabriella Mencotti slipped past the defense, danced around the goalie and saved the ball from going out of bounds with 12 minutes left in the half, but she was unable to find another Laker to finish the play while the goalie was out of position.
Five minutes later, forward Kendra Stauffer passed the ball into the box to Mencotti who fired a shot. The shot redirected off Marti Corby and hit the post, but Corby tapped it in while it sat on the goal line.
“The biggest thing was we just had to possess and just get into the game and relax,” Mencotti said. “Once we were able (to do that), we were doing a really good job of switching the point of attack and getting our wingers in.”
The Lakers continued the momentum with a goal less than 10 minutes into the second half, again coming from the foot of Corby. Corby fired a shot from the box past the right side of the goalie and into the back of the net. The goal was her fifth of the playoffs.
“We’ve talked as a theme as it being a race to two in our matches,” Hosler said. “(The second goal) settled us down.”
With less than 10 minutes left in the game, Stauffer added some insurance for the Lakers with a goal from the left side of the box. Forward Jayma Martin fired a shot wide, which Stauffer tracked down and walked the ball near the goal to take a shot.
“Playing a 3-5-2, we have three forwards, they have three defenders, so it’s matched up pretty nicely,” Stauffer said. “All week we just worked on one-v-ones and taking our players on.”
GVSU will face the Western Washington Vikings in the national championship Saturday, Dec. 3 at 4 p.m. EST. The Vikings defeated Kutztown 3-0 in their Final Four match-up.