No. 3 GVSU soccer clinches GLIAC title

GVL/Kevin Sielaff  
Marti Corby (13) moves the ball against Bria Spraggins (4). The Laker soccer team defeats SVSU Sept. 22 by a margin of 6-1 in Allendale.

Kevin Sielaff

GVL/Kevin Sielaff Marti Corby (13) moves the ball against Bria Spraggins (4). The Laker soccer team defeats SVSU Sept. 22 by a margin of 6-1 in Allendale.

Mason Tronsor

The No. 3 Grand Valley State women’s soccer team defeated Walsh 1-0 Friday night in North Canton, Ohio to clinch the GLIAC regular season crown outright.

The Lakers (15-1-0, 11-0-0 GLIAC) will be the only team with a hand on the GLIAC title this year, after splitting the honor last season with Ohio Dominican. GVSU has now won at least a share in every GLIAC championship for the past 11 seasons.

For a program which has won four of the last six NCAA Division II national titles, there’s still more to be done.

“It’s awesome to get another conference championship,” said senior defender Katy Woolley. “But there is still a lot that we need to do. It’s just one goal we can check off our list for the season.”

Despite outshooting Walsh 13-4 in the first half the Lakers were unable to find their way onto the scoreboard. GVSU has been plagued by an inability to finish more than once this season, and it hurt the Lakers again in their slim win over a lowly Walsh squad (5-7-3, 3-6-1 GLIAC).

“It was one of those games where everything wasn’t clicking for us,” said GVSU head coach Jeff Hosler. “But we found a way to be resilient.”

That resilience came in the form of junior Marti Corby, as it so often has for the Lakers in 2015. Just over 11 minutes into the second half, Corby blasted a shot into the top corner of the goal to give GVSU a 1-0 lead. The goal was Corby’s 19th goal of the season, as freshman Mackenzie Fox earned the assist off a throw-in.

“I made a quick turn to the inside and shot the ball to the far post with my left,” Corby said. “I tried to hit it as hard as I could to get it through all the players in the box and the next thing I knew it was in the back of the net.”

Corby’s goal gave the Lakers a lead they would never relinquish. Though the Lakers still have one conference game remaining against Ferris State, the record differential is too much for the Bulldogs to overcome.

“Winning the conference outright is important,” Hosler said. “It was one of our goals after sharing the conference championship last year.”

The return of redshirt sophomore Erika Bradfield added another layer of excitement and happiness to an already-pleasing night for the Lakers. Bradfield came off the bench and saw time in her first game back since 2013. Bradfield missed all of 2014 with a torn ACL.

Freshman goaltender Emily Maresh recorded her fifth consecutive shutout by making a save on Walsh’s only shot on goal.

The Lakers were without two key contributors in junior defender Clare Carlson and senior forward Katie Bounds. Carlson did not play at all after starting every match this season. Bounds did not travel with the team to the match. Hosler had no comment about either situation.

GVSU will finish the regular season portion of its schedule against FSU on Oct. 30 at home at 7 p.m.