Soccer wraps up season

GVL Archive / Andrew Mills 
Tayler Ward controls the ball as teammate Kristen Eible looks on during a past game

GVL Archive / Andrew Mills Tayler Ward controls the ball as teammate Kristen Eible looks on during a past game

Greg Monahan

It was Senior Day for the Grand Valley State University women’s soccer team as the Lakers wrapped up their regular season with the same success they have enjoyed throughout the season.

The GLIAC champion Lakers (11-1-2, 15-1-2 overall) sent five graduating seniors out with their 80th win with the program Saturday by trouncing Ferris State University 6-0. Seniors Jaleen Dingledine, Erika Pitroff, Jenna Wenglinski, Kristen Eible and Kylee Merino were honored before the game and ended their careers with a 57-1-3 conference record.

“There was a lot of hype because it was a must-win for us if we wanted home-field advantage, and we were wearing pink for breast cancer awareness,” said Eible, a starter at GVSU since her freshman year. “The best thing we did was put all those emotions aside, and we played the way we needed to.”

The Lakers cruised behind two goals from both sophomore Kayla Addison and freshman Taylor Callen. Dingledine chipped in with two assists and the second of GVSU’s six goals.

“We certainly had everyone playing well,” said GVSU head coach Dave DiIanni. “We’re hoping that progresses into this week of practice and then the GLIAC tournament. From here on it’s lose or you go home, so we have to have that mentality, and I want to see it in practice as well.”

The Lakers wore pink wristbands and tape on their shin guards in support of their breast cancer awareness game. Pink ribbons and Hungry Howie’s coupons were on sale with proceeds going to Gilda’s Club of Grand Rapids, a free local breast cancer support community.

In addition to the breast cancer awareness game, it was also the first GVSU home game to be broadcast on live television with Comcast Sports covering the game. However, playing under the watch of cameras is nothing new to the Laker seniors.

“We weren’t that concerned about it, and it was probably better that way,” Eible said. “We knew we had a job to get done. Luckily a lot of us have played in front of cameras before, so while we were playing it was like they weren’t even there. We just played our game.”

GVSU ended its regular season with a 10-0-0 record at home without surrendering a goal in any of those games, something no GVSU soccer team had ever done before.

“We’re very proud (about the home shutouts),” Eible said. “We definitely tend to play a little better at home, and this shows that we’ve been a very strong defensive unit throughout the year, and hopefully we’ll keep that up.”

The Lakers will now look ahead to the GLIAC playoffs, where they will enjoy home-field advantage throughout the tournament. GVSU has not had the same success on the road this season, losing one game and tying two, so the home field advantage has a little extra importance to the Lakers.

“It’s always better to play here, we’ve got the bigger field and we can stretch teams out,” Dingledine said. “This team is really special, and if we keep things up I know we can go a long way.”

The Lakers will have a bye in the first round of the GLIAC tournament, which begins on Tuesday. They will likely face either Northwood University or Michigan Technological University in the second round at a time to be announced.

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