Soccer moves on to third-straight NCAA regional title game

GVL / Robert Mathews 
Grand Valley vs UW-Parkside

Robert Mathews

GVL / Robert Mathews Grand Valley vs UW-Parkside

Joe Maher-Edgin

Members of the Grand Valley State University women’s soccer team relied on each other and their team chemistry in a 3-1 victory over the University of Wisconsin-Parkside Sunday.

The team showed great resilience in a NCAA Division II National Championship tournament second-round game that saw plenty of misfortune and difficulties for the Lakers.

“We all work for each other … (the team) enjoys playing together as a unit,” said GVSU head coach Dave Dilanni. “This is the first year in a while that we’ve had no chemistry issues whatsoever.”

In the first half, it looked as if both sides were battling with nerves and fatigue. The Lakers scored first after midfielder Alyssa Mira set up a free kick goal to Ashley Botts, Mira’s sixth assist this season and the 18th goal scored by Botts.

Early on into the second half, key defender Kayla Klosterman jumped into the air to win a header and was met by a fierce tackle from a Ranger defender. The senior was forced to leave the field with assistance of GVSU training staff.

“She had a bit of a lower leg problem,” Dilanni said of Klosterman’s injury status. “We have seven days, and were hoping we’ll get her back.”

The Laker defense held strong in Klosterman’s absence. Megan Brown continued her run of excellent form, making key tackles and getting forward down the left side of the field to help out on the attack.

“Megan Brown and Wesley have never played together and they both did a great job,” Dilanni said. “Taylor Callen played some good minutes, Tayler Ward played some good minutes … and to be able to hold out until we got that third goal was impressive to see.”

GVSU’s defense and midfield pressed high with the wind against the team in the second half and caused Parkside to make mistakes in its end of the field, which led to a second Laker goal.

“We really tried to stay more compact in the second half because of the wind,” Dilanni said.

Pressure from forwards Maria Brown and Ashley Botts caused a bad pass in the Parkside defense to Laker forward Kayla Addison. Addison touched the ball into space, onto her right foot before striking it across the box and to the far corner of the net.

Parkside dealt another blow to the Lakers when sophomore Kayla Kimble was sent off in the 75th minute. Kimble let the ball fall to the ground to clear the pass but was beaten to the ball and forced to trip up her opponent inside the penalty box to prevent a scoring opportunity.

“It was a call,” Dilanni said. “It was a technical mistake probably in terms of the ball should have been won in the air instead of brought down to the ground like it was and Kayla knows that, but I don’t know about a red card (for it).”

Goalkeeper Chelsea Parise dove to make the save on the penalty kick but just missed getting a hand to the shot.

“I guessed the right way, but it was a perfectly placed shot,” Parise said. “I knew even if it went in like it did that it wasn’t going to effect our momentum.”

The Lakers were down to 10 players on the field for the rest of the game. Dilanni decided to keep pressing with his forward instead of shifting to a more defensive mentality.

“When you have Ashley Botts and Kayla Addison up top, you’re going to take your chances,” Dilanni said. “Even at the end when we were a man down we said ‘you’re going to stay up there’ and they got that third goal.”

The Lakers will face Northern Kentucky University in the regional finals. The match date and venue have yet to be determined.

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