GVL Archive
Freshman Forward Juane Odendaal

GVL Archives

GVL Archive Freshman Forward Juane Odendaal

Joe Maher-Edgin

Chuck Daly had the “Bad Boys” with the Detroit Pistons in the 1980s. Phil Jackson had Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and the 1995 Bulls and in 1998, Joe Torre’s New York Yankees broke league records on the way to a World Series Championship and are considered the best teams baseball history.

So why should the Grand Valley State University women’s soccer team be compared to these famous professional teams in sports history?

“The chemistry on this team is unbelievable we all get along … there are no cliques,” senior defender Kayla Klosterman said. “It just flows like a family.”

While soccer as a sport is different than basketball or baseball and while the Lakers are playing in NCAA intercollegiate Division II sports, they share something with these teams: a bond between the players and the coaching staff.

“We’re all super close there really is no drama at all on this team,” said senior Lindsey Marlow. Both Kolsterman and Marlow agree that this years’ squad is different than all the rest during their tenure at GVSU.

“There’s obviously been chemistry in the past,” Klosterman said. “But the chemistry is some of the best I’ve seen in the last couple of years.”

The two seniors have been a part of the back-to-back national championship winning teams in 2009 and 2010, but said those teams were still different.

“We’ve had a great four years while I’ve been here, but this year in particular has been the closest team,” Marlow said. “People know when to push each other on the field and we leave what is said on the field … We can take criticism from each other.”

The team is also comprised of head coach Dave Dilanni and his coaching staff — an integral part to the balance of chemistry and discipline helping to keep a talented, winning side “grounded.”

“There were practices like a practice before we left for Colorado,” Marlow said, explaining how Dilanni kept the team focused prior to their trip out west for third round and quarterfinal matches.

“A couple of girls were talking about what needed to do and pack before we left and (Dilanni) would tell us not to think about what was to come, he wanted us to stay focused in the moment and enjoy it.”

Dilanni is currently in his ninth year at GVSU and his passion of his work has helped put the Lakers into the upper echelons of the best women’s college soccer programs in the country.

“I love coaching the game of soccer and working with these teams,” Dilanni said. “A college season is so long that you’ve got to really love the group that you’re with, the players that you play with and the coaching staff that you’re coached by.”

Dilanni has four assistant coaches who all share a common goal every season.

“As a coaching staff you really want to feel like you have a group that wants to get better everyday and when those things are there it’s a little easier to go to work,” DiIanni said.

Dilanni brings an energetic spirit to the training pitch and the sidelines, which seems to be the foundation of the great bond among the team.

“We did jumping pictures and the coaches were doing that on the field after practice and he ran up and had the most animated jump with two fist pumps in the air,” Klosterman said. “That was probably the most recent funny thing I’ve seen (Dilanni) do.”

Marlow also described his “animated” sideline celebrations and said they were both humorous and motivating.

“It’s no secret, our team gets along very well and care for each other,” Dilanni said. “When we as a coaching staff show our passion and our fire towards our team in an activity or a game, it shows that we care and that we are in the fight with them and motivates them.”

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