Keeping the ball rolling: GVSU soccer stays undefeated

GVL / Sheila Babbitt

GVL / Sheila Babbitt

Kellen Voss

The Grand Valley State women’s soccer team stuck to their winning ways this week, as they picked up two wins to improve to 3-0-0 on the year. 

GVSU came out hot against Missouri-St. Louis, scoring five goals in the first half before blowing the Tritons out 7-0 last Sunday, Sept. 2. They rode that momentum into this weekend, grabbing another home win against Ohio Valley, 1-0 on Sept. 7.

In the first game of the week, GVSU was able to control the ball well, keeping the ball on their offensive side for the majority of the game. Head Coach Jeff Hosler was impressed with his team’s composure on offense in that game.

“We’re a possession-oriented team, and we really wanted to share the ball,” Hosler said. “We had good shots going all game long.”

Hosler wasn’t exaggerating when he said the shots didn’t stop, as the Lakers got off 38 total shots compared to a measly two from the Tritons. Junior Riko Sagara got the game started with two unassisted goals, followed by a converted penalty kick from Tara Lierman. Ava Cook, Olivia Trombley, Timia Robinson and Greta Deloach were able to chip in with goals of their own.

For average sports teams, it’s hard to stay dialed in a blowout like this. But GVSU is far better than average as they’ve shown, and they proved their dominance in the win.

“We always talk about our standard and living in the moment,” Hosler said. “No matter the situation, up or down, we always try to play our best. Our commitment to defending that pressure is important.”

Despite winning by such a large margin, Hosler was not 100 percent satisfied with his team’s play and would love to see GVSU be more efficient on both ends of the field.

“I thought we could be more efficient in front of the goal. We had some good opportunities we didn’t capitalize on, and I think defensively in transition, we need better recovery,” Hosler said. “Sometimes we’re too casual with our possessions, and we got to create our own momentum.”

GVSU kept up the good work, beating reigning GMAC champion Ohio Valley. The Lakers held the Fighting Scots to one shot on goal and had eight of their own, with Corey Sawall scoring the only goal of the game nine minutes in.

As impressive as this team looked against Missouri-St. Louis, Coach Hosler felt like his team took their foot off the gas pedal on Friday and let Ohio Valley stay in the game for a little too long. 

“I think too many people are worried about someone else doing their job rather than fulfilling their role,” Hosler said. “If anything, it was ‘bend, don’t break’ defensive effort, but we never defended with the intent to take the ball. A lot of possessions could have been stopped if we were committed to our game plan.”

Ohio Valley played an aggressive, physical brand of soccer, but Grand Valley responded with poise, earning five corner kicks and drawing 13 penalties off the Fighting Scots. With all this physicality, the game featured many injuries, preventing the Lakers from getting into a flow with their game plan. 

“I think our girls met the physicality with physicality, but [Ohio Valley] was a difficult opponent because of all the stoppages,” Hosler said. “Every time we got into a flow, there was an injury or a stoppage, and that took the air out of the ball a little bit for us.”

While a win is a win, the Lakers lacked the same motivation that drove them to beat Missouri-St. Louis. If they want to continue to dominate this season, they’re going to need to stay focused in big games.

“Out of the three games we’ve played, this was our worst effort and our worst execution of game plan,” Hosler said. “I want to see us play with the urgency that was seen last Sunday, since we’re nowhere near playing with the efficiency we need to have.”

GVSU looks to keep its hot start going, as they have another home game on Friday, Sept. 14 against GLIAC opponent Northwood. The game is set to begin at 7:30 p.m.