Forwards Addison, Botts lead GV offense

Courtesy Photo/ GVSU Athletic Department
Junior forward Ashley Botts

Courtesy Photo/ GVSU Athletic Department Junior forward Ashley Botts

Joe Maher-Edgin

In soccer, or any sport for that matter, winning depends in large on a number of variables – defensive ability, team chemistry and an overall work rate greater than that of the opposition. There is one particular player position in soccer dedicated to ensuring that a scoreboard reflects those variables of a winning team after 90 minutes – the forward.

Of the seven forwards on the roster for Grand Valley State University women’s soccer team, two are at the top of the cumulative season statistics sheet, leading the Lakers in goal scoring. Together, juniors Kayla Addison and Ashley Botts have taken 87 shots this season with 49 being on goal, and have scored 19 of GVSU’s 31 goals.

“They’re both working hard and are on their game,” said GVSU head coach Dave Dilanni. “They benefit from one another… this year more than any other year, you can see they have an appreciation for each other.”

Addison and Botts have been instrumental to the team’s current form.

In the last week of September, Botts tallied seven goals and four assists in four games and was named as the GLIAC Player of the Week, an award she has now won in three consecutive weeks. In GVSU’s last game of September against Northwood, Botts tallied just four shots, but all four found the back of the net.

“Ashley is a very aggressive forward in terms of creating her own space and initiating contact with defenders to get them off balance,” Dilanni said. “She is very aggressive in looking to score and finding opportunities.”

While Botts’s physicality helps her find the net, Addison uses her speed and agility to break into the attacking third of the pitch.

“I admire a lot of track people, just because of speed and that was my first sport,” she said. “There’s different techniques I take from track to help me out on the soccer field … I can open up my stride to get beat someone to a ball or get around a defender.”

Addison has sped into goalscoring position frequently, finding the net seven times and assisting in two others this season.

“Kayla has high-level, top-end speed,” Dilanni said. “When she really turns it on and can run past somebody with a 10-yard head start, it amazes everybody.”

Though both players are key components into the Lakers current undefeated run, both attribute their success to their teammates.

“We both work really hard to get into the positions that we need to be in to score,” Botts said. “I am the benefactor of my team’s overall hard work… I’m the last person on the field up top, so the play has to go through ten other players before it gets to me.”

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