GVSU upsets No. 4 Minnesota State in marquee matchup

Mason Tronsor

The No. 12 Grand Valley State women’s soccer team defeated two tough out-of-state opponents over the weekend, and has started to settle into a groove.

The Lakers easily defeated a young California State San Bernardino team 5-1 on Friday night, and upset No. 4 Minnesota State 2-1 on Sunday afternoon.

After splitting their first two games of the season – including a humbling loss to unranked Quincy – the Lakers regrouped and refocused. Friday night against the Coyotes, GVSU did what it does best – win on home field.

“California State is a really young team this year,” said GVSU head coach Jeff Hosler. “I think as the season goes on they will get better.”

The Lakers jumped on the Coyotes early with tenacious defense and a quick attacking game that had the Coyotes on their heels. The Lakers broke through the Coyote defense late in the first half as freshman Tara Lierman netted the first goal of her career. GVSU wasn’t done, though, as junior Marti Corby scored her second goal of the season shortly after.

“It was really exciting getting on Sam’s great ball from the wing,” Lierman said. “Seeing all my teammates celebrating for me was a cool feeling.”

The Lakers led 2-0 at the half, and had momentum going into the locker room. The second half was a similar story.

GVSU continued to pressure the Coyotes, which led to three more goals in the second half, courtesy of Lierman, Sara Stevens and Gabriella Mencotti. GVSU never looked back after halftime and finished with a 5-1 victory.

The Lakers outshot the Coyotes 27-12. The story of the night and weekend, however, was Corby’s play. The reigning National Player of the Year finished with a goal and an assist in Friday night’s win. Always in control and rarely a step behind, Corby was able to deliver some nice balls to set up others, while also creating her own shot.

“We just try to create the tempo in the midfield,” Corby said. “We try to get players forward, get everyone involved and even start the attack.”

Friday night’s win carried over to Sunday’s headliner contest against fourth-ranked Minnesota State. The Mavericks defeated the Lakers last season in Mankato, Minnesota 1-0. The Lakers wanted to make a statement on their home field – and they did.

The game started off with a strong, fast pace. Both teams challenged each other on and off the ball. This time, however, it only took five minutes for the first goal to be scored.

Junior right back Clare Carlson drove home her first goal of the season off assists from Corby and Kendra Stauffer.

“It was fun to get revenge because this team broke my wrist last season,” Carlson said. “The back line was phenomenal. We were really organized.”

GVSU received another goal late in the first half from Corby, her third of the season. The Lakers led 2-0 going into halftime, but the Mavericks were far from finished.

MSU applied heavy pressure late in the second half and broke through with a 72nd-minute goal from Danae Verdine.

Three yellow cards were doled out in an 11-minute span late in the game as the two national powerhouses battled physically.

In the end, the Lakers held on to upset the Mavericks 2-1.

“Minnesota State was number one in the country all last year and returned all their best players this season,” Hosler said. “We looked good in the first half and not so much in the second half.”

GVSU can now look ahead to GLIAC play. The Lakers face Findlay on Sept. 18 and Lake Erie on Sept. 20 during Alumni Weekend.