No. 4 GV Soccer downs No. 13 Columbus State, wins 1-0


Eli Ong, Staff Reporter

Two of Division II’s most potent offenses met in a non-conference match in Ohio on Saturday, Sept. 21st where offense was not the headline.

The No. 4 Grand Valley State University women’s soccer team beat the No. 13 Columbus State Cougars, 1-0, in a matchup of two teams that were No. one and two nationally earlier this season.

“I’m proud of our girls for turning around from Minnesota State and then coming down to Columbus and beating a team that just doesn’t lose home games all that often,” said GVSU coach Jeff Hosler.

GVSU only outshot CSU 12-11, but had twice as many shots on goal as Columbus State, 6-3. Of those six shots on goal, all of them came in the first half and one from junior forward Ava Cook would go on to cement the win.

“Kennedy did a good job of gathering the ball and played a perfect pass to my head,” said Cook. “I just did my part and headed it in.”

Cook scored a header in the 12th minute off of a Sydney O’Donnell corner to Kennedy Bearden. Bearden gathered the ball in the middle of the box then shuffled it over to Cook for the lone goal of the match. It was Cook’s fourth goal of the season.

“It was a huge game for us, especially flying on back to back weekends,” Cook said. “The last time we played Columbus State, especially this group of juniors, we lost pretty bad and I think we kept that in mind coming into this game.”

Cook also said that the team felt like they did a much better job of preparing for this game and that it reflected in their confidence playing at Columbus State.

“We really came together and had a good week of practice,” Cook said. “Then it showed when we got on the field Saturday.”

Both teams mirror each other’s offensive philosophies, where GVSU and CSU both aim to maintain possession of the ball and be on attack as much as possible. At the conclusion of last season, both teams only had one loss and outscored their opponents by a pretty wide clip. GVSU outscored their opposition 99-9, while CSU outscored their opponents 76-16.

“Columbus State is a really well-coached team with a lot of firepower on the attacking side,” Hosler said. “So for us, being organized defensively was very important.”

Hosler also thought that coming off of a loss helped sharpen his team for a tough road contest in their next game against a nationally-ranked opponent.

“I don’t think we played with a lot of emotion in that match (against Minnesota State)” Hosler said. “I think they realized that and recommitted to vibing together and buying into each other and into their craft on an individual and collective level.”

Hosler said girls on the team organized their own team film sessions and group workouts throughout the course of the week outside of practice to prepare for this game.

“I think there was a realization that it doesn’t matter who we are playing, we’ve gotta have a better preparedness and a better focus going into every match,” Hosler said. “Once we reach that level consistently we’ll be that much better prepared to play and play with a lot more emotion because of the investment we’ve made.”

“Our main focus is to maintain our energy from match to match,” Cook said. “If we can do that and continue to sharpen our focus we will be a hard team to beat.”

Up next the Lakers head home to play a 3-1 Illinois-Springfield squad on Tuesday, Sept. 24th at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN3.