GVSU beats Columbus State for national title

Mason Tronsor

PENSACOLA, Fla. – Three. Two. One. The clock finally struck zero as the Grand Valley State soccer team made history on Saturday at Escambia County Stadium.

The Lakers’ 2-0 victory over Columbus State gave GVSU its fifth national title in program history, tying Franklin Pierce (four titles) for the most in NCAA Division II history.

“Couldn’t be more proud of our girls getting the job done,” said GVSU head coach Jeff Hosler. “From day one, this is what they set out to do.”

With the win, the Lakers (23-1-1) secured their third straight national title. The match was a chance to redeem the demons from the 2011 season where GVSU also had a chance for a three-peat, but fell to Saint Rose in the national championship game.

The Lakers entered the scoring column first with a free kick just outside the box from junior All-American Marti Corby in the eighth minute. She struck the ball into the upper 90 of the goal frame to give the Lakers a one-goal lead.

GVSU wasn’t done.

Senior forward Katie Bounds, playing in her final match in a Laker uniform, scored with 70 seconds left in the half. Corby led Bounds with a deep pass, and Bounds beat two defenders before rifling a shot over the CSU goaltender to send GVSU ahead 2-0.

“Nothing means more to me than this moment,” Bounds said. “It’s a different journey every year coming to the Final Four and I wouldn’t change it for the world and I wouldn’t change any girl.”

The goal gave the Lakers a 2-0 lead heading into the half. The Cougars, who mounted a number of offensive opportunities early, kept pressing through the second half.

“They definitely put us under pressure early,” Hosler said. “I thought we did a much better job in the second half of just settling the game by putting the ball on the carpet and knocking it around.”

The second half was a stalemate. With a 2-0 lead, GVSU was able to play with a cushion, but both teams still made attacks toward the goals.

Each team recorded a phantom goal in the second half, but both were waived off due to offside penalties.

GVSU freshman goalkeeper Emily Maresh kept a clean sheet in the title match as she was awarded with the shutout. She faced 12 total shots and made four saves.

The Lakers kept the CSU’s primary playmaker in Chelsea Person out of the game plan thanks to solid team defense, especially from junior All-American defender Clare Carlson.

GVSU swept the conference awards, as the most valuable offensive and defensive players of the tournament went to Corby and senior Katy Woolley.

The Lakers will return to Allendale with another trophy in hand and for the seniors, a dream ending to a back-to-back-to-back national championship run.

“It’s super cool because we got to do it as a team,” Woolley said. “Being a senior, its great to go out on a win. I’m just glad to have gone out like this. I’m literally speechless.”