Shaba, No. 11 Lakers eliminate Ferris State

GVL / Archive
Jenny Shaba

GVL / Archive

GVL / Archive Jenny Shaba

Adam Knorr

Jenny Shaba tied a record. Andrea Strauss recorded a shutout. Grand Valley State University won 4-0.

The first round of the GLIAC tournament turned out to be a lot of ‘same old, same old’ for second-seed GVSU. The Lakers (16-2-1, 10-1-1 GLIAC) hosted seventh-seed Ferris State (6-10-2, 5-6-1 GLIAC) on Tuesday and dominated from the get-go.

Before the game, GVSU coach Jeff Hosler stressed the need for his team to display urgency from the first whistle. His squad responded, maintaining consistent possession and offensive zone pressure for the first 15 minutes.

“We played so much better tonight and we got off to a good start,” said forward Katie Bounds. “We were much faster, much more direct and had more pressure so I feel like we did great.”

With just under 20 minutes left in the first half, the Lakers still had sparing good looks at net. As it turned out, they wouldn’t need one to get on the board.

Shaba dished a ball to junior Katie Klunder at the top of the box. Klunder sent a high, looping shot toward to goalmouth. The ball hung in the air for what seemed like an eon, growing more and more unpredictable as it propelled downward.

Bulldog goaltender Savanna Wojtanowski realized it was on track for the goal and made a leaping attempt at a deflection, but the ball was destined for the back of the net. It tipped off the right post and settled in the twine, giving GVSU a 1-0 lead.

With less than three minutes remaining in the half, the Lakers’ pressure paid off. Wojtanowski curled up on the ground to corral a loose ball, but it came free once again. Bounds controlled it, took two touches and blasted it into the unprotected net.

The second half was much of the same.

Sophomore Marti Corby played a set piece with Shaba to perfection. Corby touched the corner kick to Shaba near the line. Shaba knocked it back. Corby, a few yards inland of the corner, hit a shot at the far post. It sailed over everyone waiting in the box and found the back of the net.

Shaba, who picked up her second assist of the night on Corby’s tally, tied the GVSU record for assists in a single season with 15.

The final goal of the game came just six minutes later, as freshman Gabriella Mencotti put home a rebound for her team-leading 13th goal of the season.

The team had focused on seizing offensive opportunities in recent weeks, and Tuesday’s game appeared to be a step in the right direction. The Lakers sent nine of their 20 shots on net.

“I think we could have still had more action at goal. Too often we’re cutting the ball back when we can just continue to attack space ahead of us or attack goal,” Hosler said. “But I think we went through our progression much more today than the last time out.”

The Lakers will travel to Columbus, Ohio for their next match against third-seeded Michigan Tech (11-3-2, 8-2-2 GLIAC). GVSU drew 0-0 with MTU in Houghton earlier this season.

The neutral-site match will be played at the home of Ohio Dominican, the top seed, which hosts the remaining tournament games. GVSU will kick off against MTU at 4 p.m. on Friday.