GVSU overcome first loss, split weekend games

GVL / Eric Coulter
Junior Taylor Callen defends with the help of teammate Tayler Ward

Eric Coulter

GVL / Eric Coulter Junior Taylor Callen defends with the help of teammate Tayler Ward

Kyle Roskamp

Before Friday, when the University of Findlay snapped their undefeated streak and shutout streak, it had been a long time since the Grand Valley State University women’s soccer team tasted defeat.

On Friday night, after taking a 21st-minute lead from a Kayla Addison goal, the Lakers went into halftime in the same manner they have almost all season — with the lead. A less familiar feeling, however, was the attack that Findlay mounted right after the intermission. Immediately after halftime, GVSU conceded its first goal since Memorial Day to Findlay’s Emily Beddoes, who evened the score at one.

Less than ten minutes later, Findlay found the net again, putting the Lakers behind for the first time all season.

“We played a pretty good first half,” said head coach Dave DiIanni. “But the ball was in the air most of the second half, and that’s not our game. Anytime you give up a goal in the first minute of a half and give up another one about five minutes later, that’s not a good way to have success.”

The two teams each traded goals in the last ten minutes, with another from Beddoes and a Maria Brown strike for the Lakers. But it wasn’t enough, and GVSU received its first loss of the season.

“It made us realize that we have to work for everything we have,” said sophomore defender Juane Odendaal. “We can’t go out there and know that we’re going to win. We know that people don’t like us and we have a lot of competition.”

Coach DiIanni wasn’t sure how his team would react after their first loss of the season.

“We wanted to make sure that one game didn’t define our season,” DiIanni said. “The mindset was to be resilient. We wanted to have a little more of a fighter’s mentality, a stronger mentality. We had to ask for a renewed kind of commitment by the whole team to be good teammates and commit to finishing the year as good as we can.”

On Sunday against Tiffin, the team reacted like any perennial Final Four and national powerhouse would.

Motivated by Friday’s defeat, GVSU outshot Tiffin 39-2 and dominated a Tiffin team that is sitting in the middle of the GLIAC standings.

“Any worry I had disappeared,” DiIanni said. “After I saw our team leader rally the troops, they showed a renewed commitment to one another.”

After Friday’s loss, senior forward Ashley Botts made her return to the score-sheet on Sunday, netting a goal in the sixth minute to put the Lakers back in the driver’s seat.

“I haven’t been scoring the opportunities presented to me in the last couple of games,” Botts said. “So to be able to put a couple away today not only gives me confidence but hopefully also reassures the team’s faith in me.”

Botts completed the scoring in the 34th minute, giving the Lakers a 2-0 lead and some breathing room in order to cruise to victory in the second half.

The 2-0 victory could very well put the Lakers back on track for the rest of the season.

“Coming out here today and getting a win was the best feeling ever,” Odendaal said. “Our mentality was a lot better today than it was on Friday.”

The team will return home this weekend to face GLIAC-undefeated Michigan Tech on Friday at 7 p.m. and Northern Michigan University on Sunday at 1 p.m.

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