Womens Soccer trounces Tiffin, captures conference title

Sophomore Maria Brown chases after the ball during Fridays home game against Findlay

Nicole Lamson

Sophomore Maria Brown chases after the ball during Friday’s home game against Findlay

Brady Fredericksen

In a game that saw swirling winds and six yellow cards, the Grand Valley State women’s soccer team defeated Tiffin 2-0 in the GLIAC Championship game on Sunday. The game, played in Allendale, featured aggressive and physical play throughout.

“This was a game of momentum,” said GVSU head coach Dave DiIanni, whose team defeated the University of Findlay 4-0 in the GLIAC semifinals. “Tiffin came out strong with the wind at their backs. They got some shots, and our pressure was good, we just needed a little more organization.”

Following a fast start by Tiffin, GVSU regained control for the majority of the first half. The Lakers controlled the ball and out-shot the Dragons 8-6 (3-0 saves) in the half.

“In the first half they came out and tried to get into our heads a little bit with their aggressiveness,” said sophomore forward Ashley Botts. “They got to us a little, but we found our game in the second half and the game just went from there.”

In their last match-up, the teams tied in a late-October game at Tiffin. The 1-1 tie was one of the closest games the Lakers have dealt with since their only loss of the year against Northern Michigan University.

The history between the two teams played into Sunday’s game, DiIanni said.

“We knew it would be a physical game — there might be a little bad blood out between us,” he said. “ They had a great season, but in (Sunday’s) game I just wish we could have scored on them earlier. That’s something we’ll have to work on.”

While both offenses were quiet in the first half, the Lakers found their game and the goal in the second. GVSU took control on the offense, out-shooting Tiffin 12-1 (1-3 saves) in the second half en route to a pair of Botts goals.

The first, which came in the 75th minute, was a dart from 20 yards out that floated over the Tiffin goaltender’s hands and into the top right corner.

“Going into the (first) goal, I was really just looking to score,” Botts said. “I went for it at the first opportunity I saw and it went in.”

Chippy play was a common theme throughout the game, and it continued into the second half. Tiffin sophomore Stephanie Bowman was yellow carded twice in the second half, leading to her ejection prior to Botts’ first goal.

Following Bowman’s first yellow card in the 52nd minute, Tiffin coach Paula Fantini was carded for arguing with the officials after one of her players went down.

Bowman’s tackle on GVSU forward Kayla Addison in the 67th minute led to her ejection. The two had words following the play, which helped serve as a catalyst to shift momentum to the Lakers’ side.

“They’re a physical team, and we matched that,” DiIanni said. “There were lapses, but we played well.”

With 4 minutes remaining in the game, the fans began to buzz. Chants of “Let’s go Lakers” filled the air along with the sight of an emotionally-drained Tiffin team fighting to stop the GVSU attack — one that saw GVSU out-shoot Tiffin by 11.

“We wanted to score, and 1-0 is good, but we really wanted that second score,” Botts said.

The Lakers will return to the field on Sunday to begin the NCAA National Championship tournament. The site for this year’s tournament has yet to be determined.

[email protected]