GVSU soccer wins 2016 GLIAC tournament

Josh Peick

With two wins over the weekend, the Grand Valley State women’s soccer team won its 10th consecutive GLIAC tournament. The Lakers (19-1-1) beat Ohio Dominican 2-0 in the semifinals Friday, Nov. 4 and Michigan Tech 5-0 in the championship Sunday, Nov. 6.

In both games, the Lakers used goals in the first 15 minutes of play to propel them to early leads. In the third minute of the first match, forward Gabriella Mencotti scored with her left foot off of a cross from the right side from Kendra Stauffer.

Two minutes later, Marti Corby scored on a free kick from 21 yards out. She shot the ball over the wall of Panther defenders and snuck it inside the left post.

“I like that spot and the wall was short,” Corby said. “(The goalie) gave me a huge opening on the near post.”

After the two early goals, the GVSU offense became complacent and did not produce any dangerous scoring chances the rest of the game.

“I think we became very predictable after those two goals for the remainder of the half,” said GVSU coach Jeff Hosler. “We do need to find more penetration from our forwards because we have great depth at the position.”

The GVSU defense kept the Panthers off the scoreboard, but the lack of production from the Laker offense after the early lead was a concern heading into the championship game.

“We were looking to go on the dribble way too often today,” Hosler said. “(We’ve) got to get more third attackers involved and there has to be more element of surprise in those combinations.”

In the championship match, the Lakers put any concerns about offensive production to rest against the Huskies. After the first 12 minutes, GVSU had a 3-0 lead.

Mencotti opened up the scoring with a breakaway goal assisted by Tara Lierman and Corby. Three minutes later, forward Jayma Martin scored after she received a long lob pass from defenseman Erika Bradfield.

“It’s unpredictable, (Michigan Tech) is expecting us to play through the midfield and out wide,” Martin said. “It’s changing it up a little bit to make them be on their toes.”

Martin scored again five minutes later by cleaning up a rebound on her own saved shot for a tap-in goal. The Lakers held the 3-0 lead heading into halftime.

In the second half, the Lakers scored two more goals in the first 15 minutes. Corby fed a long pass into Stauffer who finished the breakaway opportunity for a goal. The long lead pass proved to be deadly for the Lakers in the championship match.

“When we pick the right moments to go bigger, it really stretches (opposing defenses’) back four,” Hosler said. “It makes it difficult for their midfielders to find compactness, and when we can stretch that back four out, it is going to give us 10 or 15 yards more consistently through the middle.”

Five minutes later, Mencotti added another goal on a header from a Lierman corner kick. The score gave Mencotti her 27th goal of the season.

The five goals were more than enough for the Lakers defense, which secured their 12th shutout in the 13 GLIAC contests this season.

With the GLIAC championship win, GVSU receives an automatic bid into the NCAA Division II Tournament. The Lakers will have to wait to see who they will host in the regional tournament starting Friday, Nov. 11.