GV soccer splits series in California

GVL/Kevin Sielaff
Marti Corby races upfield toward Minnesotas net. Grand Valleys womens soccer team defeats #4 ranked Minnesota State by a score of 2-1 Sept. 13.

Kevin Sielaff

GVL/Kevin Sielaff Marti Corby races upfield toward Minnesota’s net. Grand Valley’s women’s soccer team defeats #4 ranked Minnesota State by a score of 2-1 Sept. 13.

Josh Peick

The Grand Valley State women’s soccer team started regular season action with a two-game series in California. The Lakers beat California State-San Bernardino 2-0 Sept. 2 and tied 1-1 with California State-Pomona Sept. 4.

GVSU’s Dani Johnson opened up the scoring for the Lakers in the first game, followed by another goal 10 minutes later by Jayma Martin. Both goals were assisted by Kendra Stauffer.

The Lakers’ defense held San Bernardino to only six shots, while the offense totaled 18 shots on the game.

In the second game, the Lakers outshot Cal State-Pomona but were unable to convert on the opportunities they had. GVSU totaled 22 shots, but only seven of them were on net.

Marti Corby, the defending national player of the year, scored the Lakers’ only goal in the second game.

“We had some moments where we were in midseason form,” said GVSU coach Jeff Hosler. “But we really struggled to have consistency for 90 minutes. I thought in both matches, once we had leads, we got very complacent.”

Struggling in the first few matches of the season is nothing out of the ordinary for the Lakers. In the past three seasons, GVSU has only lost or tied in seven matches. Three of those games have come in the first four games of the season.

“We are ready to leave the tie (behind us),” Stauffer said. “It’s like a loss for us because we know we could have done better.”

GVSU will continue its four-game road trip in Minnesota for two games. The Lakers will look to take the positives from opening weekend and expand upon them.

The offense was clicking in the first half of each game, creating multiple breakaway opportunities. This is something the Lakers will need throughout the game.

“We did create some good chances,” Hosler said. “We were much more probing opening weekend than we were a year ago on opening weekend.”

While the offense was creating chances, the GVSU defense was holding opponents to very few scoring opportunities. The Lakers held the California teams to under seven shots on goal in both matches.

The GVSU defensive backline has been a driving force for the team in the past few years and has shown its dominance in the early part of the 2016 season.

“Defensively our backline has done very well, but our midfield has to defend better for us,” Hosler said.

The midfield defense will be key to the Lakers’ success against two physically tough Minnesota teams. While California teams play with more finesse and ball movement, Minnesota teams play a more direct style of play with a physical presence.

The Lakers’ first game of the series will come against St. Cloud State Sept. 9, followed by Minnesota State-Mankato Sept. 11.