GV advances to face Northern Kentucky in NCAA Regional Final

GVL / Robert Mathews 
The team huddles up at the beginning of their match against UW-Parkside

Robert Mathews

GVL / Robert Mathews The team huddles up at the beginning of their match against UW-Parkside

Joe Maher-Edgin

Northern Kentucky University is the next opponent for the Grand Valley State University’s women’s soccer team as it continues a postseason campaign into the third round of the NCAA Division II Tournament.

GVSU head coach Dave Dilanni and the Lakers will travel to Golden, Colo. to face the Norse in the Midwest Regional final, echoing a matchup from two seasons ago.

The Lakers last came up against Northern Kentucky on their way to becoming 2009 National Champions in a nail biter decided by a 5-4 penalty kick shoot out after two stalemate periods of overtime.

“We have a great history,” Dilanni said in an interview on the Dave Dilanni Show, recalling the 2009 NCAA Regional Final. “We played them in Denver two years ago … it was a good game and went to [penalty kicks].”

The Lakers will be looking to retain possession of the ball against the Norse and continue to play strong defensively in order to control the pace of the game.

“We want to possess the ball a little more and make them chase us,” Dillani said. “They’re a very good team … we’ll be very aggressive defensively and look to play direct to put some pressure on their back line.”

Dilanni said he expects his team to work harder as they begin to face more difficult opponents.

“We’re going to have to play very well, as you should,” he said. “As you advance you have to play a little bit better because you’re playing better opponents.”

The Lakers respect their regional final opponents and their head coach Bob Sheehan.

“Sheehan has got a great team over there and great program quite honestly,” Dilanni said. “They’ve done a fantastic job the last 15 to 20 years.”

Sheehan shared similar compliments and said his team is enjoying its current run in the tournament.

“We’re glad to play anybody – we’ll play whoever is next on the bracket,” Sheehan said. “Obviously if it’s Grand Valley, then we’re thrilled to play [them]. Dave is a personal friend and he’s done a remarkable job with the program. We’re thrilled with opportunity to keep playing.”

The Lakers will face Northern Kentucky at 3 p.m. Friday at the Colorado School of Mines soccer stadium. An interactive bracket of this years tournament can be found on the tournament website at www.ncaa.com/sports/soccer-women/d2.

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