GVSU soccer opens GLIAC Tournament with convincing win over Michigan Tech
GV soccer opens GLIAC Tournament with convincing win over Michigan Tech
After being shut out 1-0 in their final regular-season match against archrival Ferris State, the Grand Valley State soccer team was brought back to reality after a dominating 15-game winning streak.
The loss appeared to wake up the Laker offense as GVSU (16-3-0, 10-0-0 GLIAC) opened up the postseason GLIAC Tournament with a convincing 5-0 victory over the Michigan Tech Huskies (5-11-1, 2-7-1 GLIAC) Tuesday, Oct. 31.
GVSU dominated the offensive attack, showering the Huskies with 35 total shots, while Michigan Tech could only manage two. Although they only scored one goal in the first half, the Lakers found their groove in the second half with solid passing and corner kicks to post the remaining four.
Because the Lakers earned the best overall GLIAC regular-season record, they were awarded with the No. 1 seeding, meaning the team has home-field advantage throughout the tournament. Michigan Tech entered the game as the No. 8 seed.
After the Lakers' regular-season finale and subpar offensive performances before, head coach Jeff Hosler emphasized the importance of finishing their scoring opportunities. With the Lakers’ five-score performance, there was not much to complain about.
“It was definitely good to see the offense come alive again,” Hosler said. “It was the first time in the last four matches that we came out of halftime and made the adjustments we discussed.”
By the opening whistle, the temperature was fluctuating between the high 30s and low 40s for the Lakers' first taste of colder playing conditions this semester. But for some Lakers, the cold weather isn't an issue.
“I love this weather personally,” said freshman defender Cecilia “Ces” Steinwascher. “I would definitely rather play in the cold weather than in the hot, no doubt.”
Hosler also noted that the weather wasn't an issue.
"We’re all from Michigan and kids from the Midwest," he said. "It’s just another fall day for us."
The frigid weather seemed to help Steinwascher’s game as she opened up the scoring with a booming kick around 30 yards from the goal, rifling just out of the Huskies' goalkeeper’s reach in the 24th minute. Assisted by Giana Parlove, the designed play not only was successful for the Lakers, but it was one that caught the eye of Hosler.
“That’s going to be a ‘Goal of the Year’ candidate for sure, “ Hosler said. “But as much as I would love to defer to Ces, it was designed based on a decision and read by her. She made a brilliant play to take on the defender.”
Entering halftime, the Lakers only had a 1-0 lead but with a staggering 17 total shots. The Lakers had their share of scoring opportunities, but Michigan Tech goalkeeper Kirsen Hudak seemed to have her hand on every shot on goal, finishing the half with eight saves.
Coming out in the second half, the Lakers emphasized running their offense near the end line to force corner kick opportunities and offensive chances in the box. Freshman Ava Cook broke open the second half scoring after dribbling through three Michigan Tech defenders for an open shot in the 49th minute. Assisted by Steinwascher, the goal was Cook’s 10th of the season.
After that, the Lakers dominated the possession until the final whistle. Other goal scorers for the Lakers included senior Gabriella Mencotti and Corey Sawall, who scored the remaining two goals.
Although the Lakers managed to make the contest look easy, Michigan Tech played with intense physicality in order to keep their season alive. However, the Lakers were up to the challenge.
“We know that every game we go into we have to win the physical battle,” Cook said. “I have to compete as hard as I can; if that means going a little bit extra to match them, if I get kicked by the other team, I’ll take that one for the team.”
With the win, GVSU advances to the semifinals for the GLIAC Tournament at home Friday, Nov. 3, at 3 p.m. Their opponent will be No. 4-seeded Tiffin University (8-9-1, 6-3-0 GLIAC), an opponent they defeated twice by a combined score of 14-0. However, Tiffin has won five of their last six matches, a stat line coach Hosler can’t overlook.
“We’re going to see a Tiffin team that is playing really good soccer right now,” Hosler said. “They have some great attacking players, one of the best goalkeepers in the league, and we’re going to have to keep doing what we do effectively.”