GVSU’s offense goes cold in U.P. road trip

GVL/Kevin Sielaff
#16 Dani Johnson

GVL / Kevin Sielaff

GVL/Kevin Sielaff #16 Dani Johnson

Adam Knorr

A late October weekend in the Upper Peninsula proved to be a middling vacation as the Grand Valley State University women’s soccer team came home with a 1-0-1 record in two GLIAC games.

No. 10 GVSU (14-2-1, 9-1-1 GLIAC) topped Northern Michigan University 1-0 before playing to a 0-0 double-overtime draw against Michigan Tech University.

The Lakers took on red-hot NMU on Friday afternoon. NMU (6-7-1, 4-5 GLIAC) had shutout four consecutive GLIAC opponents before the showdown with GVSU.

Were it not for freshman Dani Johnson, the Wildcats may have made it five in a row.

Early in the second half, with the score tied 0-0, GVSU senior Charlie Socia lined up a free kick from 25 yards out. Socia placed a shot on net, but NMU goalkeeper Caroline Glantz managed to deflect it. Johnson found herself with a clean look and blasted home the rebound for her second goal of the year.

Despite NMU’s unimpressive record, the team has been lights out in recent weeks. Preceding the four shutouts, the Wildcats dropped a 3-2 double overtime game to Ohio Dominican University, the only GLIAC team to top GVSU this year. The Lakers needed all four starting defenders – Juane Odendaal, Kaely Schlosser, Clare Carlson and Alexia Mencotti – to play all 90 minutes in order to preserve the win. Goalkeeper Andrea Strauss made two saves to notch another shutout.

Mencotti has seen more time on defense in recent games this season, thanks partially to injuries along the back line and an improvement in personal skill.

“She’s progressed. Every week she’s been better,” said GVSU coach Jeff Hosler. “We really challenged her on a couple of things at the beginning of the season.

“She continues to show improvement and is playing very well right now.”

The win set up a big showdown against Michigan Tech on Sunday, but first the Lakers used their surroundings to their advantage. In lieu of the usual post-game ice baths, GVSU took to a team dip in Lake Superior following the NMU tilt to ease their ailments.

The impromptu trip, however, appeared to freeze GVSU’s offense.

The Lakers drew to a 0-0 tie against MTU (9-2-2, 7-1-2 GLIAC), failing to capitalize on a number of offensive opportunities, and placing the majority of their shots within easy reach of the MTU goaltender Jenna Phelps.

“We played very well defensively,” said GVSU head coach Jeff Hosler. “Any chance that they had wasn’t too threatening, everything came from distance. We played really hard but unfortunately we couldn’t execute offensively.”

Phelps did make a few key saves, however. She robbed GVSU forward Jenny Shaba in the 37th minute with a diving save, and did the same on a Marti Corby free kick in the 73rd minute.

The Lakers kept up the pressure, but Phelps stood tall, making back-to-back saves in the 76th minute to keep goose eggs on the scoreboard.

The scoreless tie held through regulation, through the first overtime and ultimately to the end of the second as well as the Lakers failed to find the back of the net.

GVSU outshot MTU 25-12, and held an 11-7 edge in shots on goal. Strauss remained perfect in the trip up north, making seven saves to seal her third consecutive shutout. Corby led GVSU with seven shots.

The Lakers finish off the regular season with a GLIAC matchup at home against Walsh University on Saturday.