GVSU women's soccer keeps home win streak alive against Ashland
The Grand Valley State women’s soccer team continued its good form at home to start the season.
Hosting GLIAC rival Ashland in Allendale for a non-conference matchup, the Lakers won their third consecutive game Friday, Sept. 15, beating the Eagles 3-0. Gabriella Mencotti, Cecilia Steinwascher and Ava Cook all scored as the team completed its third-straight home shutout. The win improved the team’s record to 3-2.
The Lakers were in control for the majority of the first half, as Mencotti gave GVSU a constant threat at the left wing position. She would open the scoring in the 9' minute, heading in an in-swinging corner kick from Steinwascher. It was the senior’s third goal of the season, while Steinwascher was able to add her first assist. Mencotti’s goal would also move her into sole ownership of the fourth most game-winning goals in program history.
Set-piece success would turn into a theme for the Lakers this night. In the 26' minute, Steinwascher was able to open her collegiate account, directly curling in a corner kick. However, the freshman from Sterling Heights, Michigan, wasn’t too caught up in scoring her first goal.
“I was just trying to put it close to the goalkeeper,” Steinwascher said. “I mean, it’s just another goal, I don’t know.”
Steinwascher’s emergence as a kick-taker on corners bodes well for the Lakers, as her deliveries created chances throughout the evening.
“Normally, I look for Gabby (Mencotti),” Steinwascher said. Mencotti posed a threat throughout the first half, as she was able to find success on the wing as well as the box.
GVSU remained in control for the greater part of the opening half. Ashland’s best chance came in the 27' minute following a Laker corner. The Eagles were able to create a two-on-one chance following a clearance but failed to score after pushing a shot just wide. That would turn out to be Ashland’s best opportunity to score on the night.
Leading 2-0 to begin the second half, the host Lakers started the final 45 minutes of play with intensity. In the 47' minute, Ava Cook was able to collect the ball on the perimeter of the Ashland 18-yard box. Cook, another freshman, was able to cut in from the right and slot a left-footed finish past Lampe to push the Laker advantage to three. It was her second goal of the season.
“I was hoping to get the cross off, but she (the Ashland defender) came back very heavily,” Cook said. “I knew that with all her force if I cut her, she wouldn’t be able to recover. It ended up working out.”
The rest of the second half was a cagey affair, but the Lakers were able to remain in control. The Eagles only managed one shot on target during the final 45 minutes.
After the game, head coach Jeff Hosler was able to find positives in the team’s performance, but he still sees room to grow.
“We’ve been very sound defensively,” Hosler said. “Today, we got countered a couple times where we just kind of switched off. Something we’ve been striving for is being more consistent for longer periods of time. We were fortunate enough today that they didn’t capitalize on the great opportunity they had.
Shannon (Quinn) and Ces (Steinwascher) at center-back have been bright spots for us.”
Hosler was also pleasantly surprised at the team’s success on corners.
“To be fair, we haven’t worked on it much yet," he said. "But we had two great deliveries. Our technique was a lot better.”
Hosler also lauded the team’s adjustments after halftime.
“I felt like we were a little lethargic in the first half,” Hosler said. “I thought we were very predictable in our possession. We talked about that at halftime. I thought we were a lot better moving, getting more penetrating runs, getting more action going at goal to make their back four uncomfortable.”
Setting the tempo early in the half is something that GVSU is constantly working toward.
“That’s something we always focus on,” Cook said. “We always want to dominate the first five minutes of each half and the last five minutes.”
The Lakers will have a quick turn around, as they will host GLIAC program Tiffin in another non-conference matchup Sunday, Sept. 17, at 1 p.m.