A new year for the GVSU women’s soccer team

Evan McMillin

Success is no longer just a goal, or an option, for the Grand Valley State University women’s soccer team this upcoming season. Success is defined as the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors, and with seven-straight GLIAC championships, as well as three-consecutive NCAA Division II National Championship game appearances, the Lakers look to continue to pace the field in the GLIAC.

The Lakers won’t be sneaking up on anybody this year. After being voted by the GLIAC coaches as the preseason favorites in the conference, the team will be wearing a target on its back this season. Returning key pieces across the field, the team will be potent on offense as it returns 85 percent of their goal scoring from last season.

Offensively, the team will be headed by the one-two punch of All-American forwards Ashley Botts and Kayla Addison. Both seniors, Botts returns after leading the nation with 20 goals, while Addison — who currently ranks 5th on the career-points list at GVSU — will look to build on that total after scoring 15 goals last season.

A group of talented freshman, including Katie Bounds, Katie Klunder and Casey McMillan look to help the All-Americans on the offensive end. The midfield may not boast as many big names as the forwards right now, but senior Alyssa Mira returns after being the GLIAC Defensive Player of the Year and third team All-America selection last year.

Junior midfielder Kelsey Fiscus, who was plagued by injuries last season, will be a key contributer to an already solid midfield. The junior missed all of the regular season before playing in all four of the team’s contests in the NCAA tournament. Klunder and Kelly Capoccia, both incoming freshman, also look to compete for playing time and to help out the Laker midfield.

GVSU’s defense gave up just 10 goals last season, and while they lost two of their top defenders — Megan Brown and Kayla Klosterman — to graduation, the returning Lakers look to continue their streak of tough defense.

The defense is headlined by senior Molly Streeter, juniors Taylor Callen, Sam Decker, Kayla Kimble and Tayler Ward and sophomores Juane Odendaal and Alyssa Wesley. Kimble, a Daktronics All-Midwest Region selection, is looking to show what she can do after losing a large chunk of her freshman year to injury. The group helped the cause in 16 shutouts last season last season and look to only improve on that with an influx of young talent.

“We are really excited about the outside back position,” head coach Dave Dilanni told GVSULakers.com. “Obviously losing someone as good as Megan Brown is a loss for sure, but we have Juane Odendaal, Sam Decker, Tayler Ward and Taylor Callen to fill that spot.”

GVSU will kick off its season on Friday at home against Armstrong Atlantic at 7 p.m.

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