GVSU soccer: 27-game win streak snapped

Adam Knorr

The No. 1 Grand Valley State University women’s soccer team tripped up to Minnesota over the weekend for a two-game challenge, and left with middling results and some work to do after splitting the games and losing for the first time since 2012.

From the outset of the opening game at Southwest Minnesota State University, GVSU was in unfamiliar territory. Just nine minutes into the game, SMSU’s Miranda Cadena found the back of the net to give the Mustangs a 1-0 lead.

It was the first goal the Lakers had surrendered this season. To have it come so quickly in the game only added to the shock.

“When we had the goal against, we immediately got slapped into reality,” said GVSU forward Katie Bounds. “We realized we needed to get it together, but we weren’t giving up. We knew we had to play two times as hard.”

The Lakers got it together quickly. Senior forward Jenny Shaba scored in the 19th minute from outside the 18-yard box to tie the game at 1-1. The goal was the first of the season for the reigning GLIAC Offensive Player of the Year, who struggled to find the net despite numerous opportunities during GVSU’s first two games of the year.

Just four minutes later, Shaba found freshman Gabriella Mencotti on the left side of the box. Mencotti rifled a shot past SMSU goalie Brienna Dekhes to give GVSU a 2-1 lead.

Mencotti’s goal proved to be the game-winner in GVSU’s 3-1 victory. Bounds knocked home a rebound in the 82nd minute to clinch the win for the Lakers. GVSU tallied 22 shots in the game, peppering Dekhes for the entirety of the second half. Seemingly furious after allowing a goal, the Laker defense went into total lockdown mode and didn’t allow a shot attempt after the 34th minute.

The second game of the weekend was, as GVSU expected, a much tougher tilt. The Lakers paired off against No. 7 Minnesota State University in a highly anticipated matchup. The two teams have seen plenty of each other in recent years, and, although the Lakers were 5-0 in the lifetime series against the Mavericks, rarely is there a wide gap in the final score.

The same was true on Sunday as the teams fought tooth and nail until the final whistle. The Lakers came out flat and were unable to generate much offense as goalkeeper Andrea Strauss saw shots flying all around the goalmouth for much of the first 45 minutes. MSU recorded nine shots, although just one was on goal. GVSU, in contrast, tallied just three.

“We came out slow today,” said GVSU senior defender Kaely Schlosser. “They were really high pressure and we didn’t come out ready to play.”

The game remained scoreless until about nine minutes left in the second half when MSU’s Korey Kronforst found herself on a breakaway and tucked the game-winner home past Strauss.

“We certainly didn’t play hard enough tonight,” said GVSU coach Jeff Hosler. “We had a really hard time distributing the ball from the back end and a hard time possessing the ball under pressure. Decision making was poor and the execution was also.”

The loss snaps a 27-game winning streak for GVSU. The run was tied for the fourth-longest run in NCAA Division II history before MSU stepped in and cut it off. The loss is GVSU’s first since Nov. 29, 2012 – a 2-1 loss to No. 5 UC San Diego in the NCAA semifinals.

GVSU (3-1) begins GLIAC play on Saturday in Big Rapids, Mich. at Ferris State University.