GVSU soccer bounces back in home opener victory over Cedarville
Entering their home opener against Cedarville University with a record of 0-2, there was only one result the Grand Valley State women’s soccer team would stand to accept-- the first win.
Home cooking seemed to be the winning recipe as the No. 14 ranked Lakers dominated Cedarville in about every statistical category, grabbing a 2-0 victory at the team’s home opener Friday, Sept. 8.
“It was good for us to be on the right side of a result,” said GVSU head coach Jeff Hosler. “It was important for us to finally get a win under our belt.”
From the second the game started, the Lakers dominated the possession of the ball, a major point of emphasis during team practices throughout the week. The team’s effective game plan focused on stretching the game out to allow bigger gaps and channels for passing, while making sure Cedarville never had a chance to get the ball on offense.
GVSU senior Gabriella Mencotti said her team’s first two losses prompted the team’s focus on possession.
“I think this past weekend was eye-opening for everyone on the team, and possession was something we really lacked,” Mencotti said. “We had two great practices to get ready for this weekend. I think everyone individually stepped up in moments they needed to in order to pull out the win, which was a good start at home for us.”
The Lakers’ game plan worked, as the team shot the ball 28 times, 12 of them on goal. Cedarville only had two shots on goal the entire game.
Mencotti opened the scoring for the Lakers in the 31 minute with her second goal of the year, assisted by freshman Gianna Parlove. Mencotti finished the game with five shots on goal in 68 minutes of play.
One minute later, freshman Hannah Klingerman joined the scoring party with a header goal, the first one of her career, assisted by freshman Makenna Schoolman. Klingerman said the moment the ball hit the back of the net is one she’ll always treasure.
“It was very exciting, especially during our home opener,” Klingerman said. “Hopefully there’s a lot more to come from me, but for now, it’s definitely a good feeling.”
Mencotti was one of the first Lakers to congratulate Klingerman for her career milestone.
“It’s great to see Hannah step up and hammer home a great goal,” Mencotti said. “Of course you want to score a good goal, and with a header you can’t ask for anything better than that. It feels like yesterday I was (a freshman), so I know exactly what it’s like to be in that spot.”
The second half provided zero scoring from either team but allowed the Lakers to get their freshmen and newcomers a chance to gather valuable playing experience at home. This season, 50 percent of the Lakers’ roster is comprised of freshmen and newcomers.
Hosler has been pleased with what he has seen from his newcomers so far.
“It’s a good start, but they have a long way to go with us,” Hosler said. “Half of our roster is new players, and some of them have really stepped up with their play on all three lines. They’re going to have to perform well and come along pretty quick in order to give us the ability we need in our starting lineup and depth off the bench.”
GVSU goalkeeper Jennifer Steinaway had an easy day in net, as GVSU barely allowed for Cedarville to gain possession. The redshirt junior’s two saves were enough to earn her first shutout of the season.
Although the game appeared as if it were an easy win, Hosler had plenty of criticism for his team.
“We played well enough for the result, but getting the result today also doesn’t put us on the right path,” Hosler said. “We still (have) a lot of things we still have to improve at. (Cedarville’s) goalkeeper was fantastic. If not, you would’ve seen a lot more lopsided result.
But there’s a time where you have to finish your chances, but we hit the post too often.”