Senior Gabriella Mencotti, GVSU soccer outscore Florida Tech 8-2
Traveling from the "Sunshine State," the Florida Institute of Technology's soccer team (5-3-2) looked to defeat the Grand Valley State Lakers for the second season in a row on a damp Michigan night.
However, the No. 4 GVSU soccer team (11-2, 5-0 GLIAC) spoiled Florida Tech’s trip, defeating the Panthers by an 8-2 blowout score Wednesday, Oct. 11.
Standing out from the rest of the pack was GVSU senior Gabriella Mencotti, who scored four goals during the contest, making it 11 goals in her last three games. On top of that, she was also named United Soccer Coaches Division II Player of the Week Tuesday, Oct. 10.
“It’s a combination of her being a special player and playing with an edge right now,” said GVSU head coach Jeff Hosler. “When you have those two things working in harmony, it’s a fun thing to watch because she’s just so efficient in front of the goal.”
The first 1,000 students who attended the game received a "Laker soccer scarf," sponsored by Enclave.
The game started with Mencotti breaking open the scoring floodgates in the second minute after a perfect diagonal pass from freshman Ava Cook set up Mencotti with an open shot in front of the net.
Shortly after, junior defender Madz Ham joined the scoring party with a sniper-esque shot from 20 yards out of the box that flew past the Florida Tech goalkeeper’s reach in the ninth minute. The goal was Ham’s second of the season.
With crisp passing and defensive pressure, the Lakers were able to obtain control of possession early in the contest. After goals by Mencotti, assisted by Dani Johnson and Cecilia Steinwascher, and Gianna Parlove, assisted by Tracey McCoy, the Lakers were able to take a 4-0 lead within the first 16 minutes of the contest.
However, Florida Tech ended the Lakers’ scoring attack after Panthers’ forward Elin Svensson buried a shot 25 yards out, just slightly out of GVSU goalkeeper Jen Steinaway’s reach. The goal ended GVSU’s and Steinaway’s 10-game shutout streak. Hosler had nothing but praise for his senior goalkeeper so far this season.
“During that streak, simply put, she just played really well,” Hosler said. “She’s really improved this year to help us create tempo to our offense and get out of tough situations.”
But just less than one minute later, Mencotti got redemption for her goalkeeper, tacking on her third goal of the game to clinch the hat trick. By the end of the first half, the Lakers had a comfortable 5-1 lead over the Panthers.
The second half was a similar story for the Lakers, as their defensive pressure allowed the Panthers little-to-no scoring opportunities. Mencotti opened the half with her fourth goal of the contest in the 61st minute, assisted by Parlove and Steinwascher. The passing from the Lakers made Mencotti’s job much easier against the Panthers.
“We have great players on the wings throughout the whole team,” Mencotti said. “When you’re getting passes like that, how can I not finish it?”
GVSU was able to find the back of the net once again in the 67th minute, after junior forward Katrina Giantsopoulos scored her first goal of the year, assisted by Lindsay Ebeling to make it a 7-1 Laker lead.
By the end of the game, both teams had each tacked on one more goal to give the final score of 8-2, Lakers. The final GVSU goal was scored by Ava Cook, her fifth of the season in the 87th minute.
After losing to the Panthers last year, redemption on their home turf made the win that much better for the Lakers and Hosler.
“Offensively, we were really effective to put up the numbers we did today, especially against a Flordia Tech team that plays in a pretty tough conference,” Hosler said. “Playing a team like them this time of the year is the reason they’re on the schedule.
“They gave us some things we have to work on moving forward.”
The Lakers will complete their final two regular season home games against Purdue University Northwest Friday, Oct. 13, and Davenport University Sunday, Oct. 15 for senior day.