GVSU defeats Northern Michigan 6-0 in GLIAC tournament round one

GVL/Kevin Sielaff - Alexis Dandridge (29). The Lakers defeat the Panthers of Ohio Dominican with a final score of 4-0 on Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016 in Allendale.

Kevin Sielaff

GVL/Kevin Sielaff – Alexis Dandridge (29). The Lakers defeat the Panthers of Ohio Dominican with a final score of 4-0 on Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016 in Allendale.

Josh Peick

After taking care of Northern Michigan in the first round, the Grand Valley State women’s soccer team is heading to the semifinals of the GLIAC tournament. The Lakers (17-1-1) beat the Wildcats 6-0 Tuesday, Nov. 1.

The GVSU offense wasted no time getting on the board. In the first minute of the game, Marti Corby scored on a header after Tara Lierman played a corner kick into the box.

“(We) couldn’t start either half any better,” said GVSU coach Jeff Hosler. “It’s good to see us executing set pieces in back-to-back games. It’s something we haven’t done consistently enough this year.”

The Lakers extended the early lead soon after with a goal from Jayma Martin. Martin, with her back to the goal, received a pass from Lierman in the box. She turned around and chipped a shot over the goalie for her 16th goal of the year.

In the beginning of the second half, the Lakers scored early again. This time they only needed 18 seconds.

Gabriella Mencotti, the leading goal-scorer for the offense, dribbled down the field and scored with her left foot past the right side of the goalie. She scored again later in the half with a header on a cross from defenseman Mackenzie Fox.

“A lot of our tempo does generate and begin from our back five,” Hosler said. “(Northern Michigan) gave us a lot of space for our outside backs to be on the ball.”

Kendra Stauffer scored the second goal of the half, and freshman Alexis Dandridge scored late in the game for her first career collegiate goal. Dandridge was sidelined for most of the year with an injury.

“It’s a blessing,” Dandridge said. “I didn’t think I was going to be able to make a comeback this year.”

Dandridge gives an already explosive Laker offense a high-energy forward off the bench.

“It’s great for (Dandridge) to claw her way back from surgery during the season,” Hosler said. “She’s getting better, coming more into form.”

The offense for the Lakers has been deadly all season, outscoring GLIAC opponents 26-1 during the regular season. Three of GVSU’s forwards, Mencotti (24), Martin (16) and Stauffer (15), are the top three goal-scorers in the conference.

While the offense has been scoring, the defense has held opposing offenses at bay all year. The Lakers have recorded 11 shutouts in 12 games against conference opponents.

“Defense has been carrying us with tons of shutouts and that gives us confidence going forward,” Corby said. “I think we still have our best soccer yet to play.”

The Lakers are in the driver’s seat for the GLIAC tournament and the rest of the postseason. GVSU could host every game of the playoffs until the final four in Kansas City, should the Lakers make it that far.

The Lakers have a true home-field advantage when playing at home. This year’s team is 7-1 at home this year, and since 2013, GVSU is 149-6-5 in home matches.

GVSU will host Ohio Dominican in the second round of the GLIAC tournament Friday, Nov. 4 at 4 p.m. The Lakers beat the Panthers 3-0 at home earlier in the season.