Soccer downs Findlay in GLIAC semifinals

Junior Erin Mruz moves to kick the ball during Fridays game

Junior Erin Mruz moves to kick the ball during Friday’s game

Garrett Pelican

The Grand Valley State University women’s soccer team extended its season and advanced to the GLIAC Championship finals Friday with a 4-0 defeat of the University of Findlay.

Despite blustery 40 degree weather, senior Jenna Wenglinski said the conditions did not affect the way the Lakers played.

“We’re pretty used to playing 90 minutes as it is,” said Wenglinski, the 2010 GLIAC Defensive Player of the Year.

The Lakers (16-1-2, 12-1-2 GLIAC) anchored themselves behind goals from sophomore Kayla Addison, junior Erin Mruz, freshman Kelsey Fiscus and freshman Kayla Kimble.

GVSU head coach Dave DiIanni said team owed its success to stingy defense in the midfield, bolstered by aggressive defense from the team’s front and back lines.

“We did a really good job of pressuring the ball,” said DiIanni.

As was the case when the GVSU played Findlay during the regular season, the first half was a low-scoring affair. After being stifled in early scoring chances, GVSU sophomore Kayla Addison drew first blood at 23:58 on a breakaway up the middle, punching in an unassisted goal – a team high of 17 for the season – on the open net following a miscue by Findlay keeper Alicia Tutino.

After coming up short on several breakaways, DiIanni said the first half goal provided his team with momentum for the second half.

“I think the more chances you miss, the tighter you get, the more frustrated you get, and so certainly that goal was important going into half one-nothing us versus zero-zero, and I think it gave us a little more breathing room,” said DiIanni.

Following a breather at halftime, the Lakers came out kicking in an effort that must have conjured feelings of déjà vu for Findlay.

Capitalizing on cracks in Findlay’s defense, Addison supplied Mruz with a pass inside the box before Mruz found the left corner of the net at 63:30.

Even with an insurance goal, the Lakers did not relent as moments later Fiscus played a ball off a defender inside the box and delivered it to the back of Findlay’s net.

Three goals up, Kimble cemented the Laker victory with four minutes left, receiving a pass from freshman Taylor Callen and serving it over the Findlay keeper.

The efforts from players off the bench, DiIanni said, served as a good indication of the Lakers’ depth.

“You saw some of our subs score with Kelsey Fiscus and Kayla Kimbel, and that’s always a good sign for depth,” he added.

The Lakers will play Tiffin University at home Sunday for the GLIAC Championship. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.

“I think Sunday we just need to play how we did in the second half here, be connected on all three lines – defensively, with the midfield and with the forwards,” said Wenglinski.

While DiIanni is focused on winning the game ahead, he said the Lakers have larger ambitions guiding them.

“Any win for us is important because it gets you feeling good about where you’re at going into the national tournament, but our No. 1 goal is to win the GLIAC,” said DiIanni. “We won the regular season, but we want to be tournament champs as well. That gives you an automatic bid and also for us, we want the No. 1 seed in the region. That means home-field advantage all the way through, so we need to win one more game to do that.”

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1. 23:58 GV Kayla Addison (17) (unassisted) – breakaway up the middle, keeper missed ball open net
2. 63:30 GV Erin Mruz (10) (Kayla Addison) – pass to the right from middle, inside box bottom left corner of net
3. 65:10 GV Kelsey Fiscus (1) (unassisted) – off defender, inside box 6 yards out
4. 85:29 GV Kayla Kimble (1) (Taylor Callen) – five yards out, upper right of net over keeper’s head

Shots: Findlay 4, Grand Valley State 19
Saves: Findlay 4 (Alicia Tutino 4), Grand Valley State 2 (Chelsea Parise 2)