No. 1 Women’s Soccer completes GLIAC Championships


GVL / Sydney Lim GLIAC Women’s Soccer

Holly Bihlman, Sports Editor

Last week, the Grand Valley State University (18-1-2) no. 1 ranked women’s soccer team hosted the GLIAC Championships, coming out of the week with two wins and their first loss of the season against the no. 2 ranked Ferris State University (15-3-3) on Sunday, Nov. 14.

On Tuesday, Nov. 9, the Lakers took on the University of Wisconsin-Parkside (3-14-2) for the third time this season, claiming their third shutout against the Rangers. With a previous 2-0 and 6-0 final score this season, the Lakers were able to repeat their success on Tuesday 2-0 with the first goal coming from the Missouri connection: freshman midfield Mackenzie Jones and the assist from freshman forward Taylor Reid.

“My teammate, Taylor; she read the goalie really well and she read the passes and just found me after she intercepted it right at the top of the box,” Jones said. “It’s just exciting, especially with your best friend, to celebrate all of her hard work and yours together.”

The second goal of the game was scored by freshman midfield Hannah Becker in the last minute of the game for a penalty kick right into the back of the net. The game was highlighted by the total 36 shots from the Lakers, keeping the Rangers completely locked out of their defensive zone for zero saves in the full 90 minutes.

“We were just trying to put together all the pieces that we’ve had in the regular season and bringing them into the playoffs,” said coach Jim Conlon. “You know when you’re playing a team for the third time, they’re going to have some adjustments and we were happy to keep another shutout and keep a clean sheet and get the win.”

On Friday, Nov. 12 the Lakers faced the Northern Michigan University Wildcats (11-8-1) and the first snowfall of the winter season, playing on an icy field yet still coming out for another winning battle, starting with an exciting three goals scored in the first half.

Reid began the scoring of the game 20 minutes in with an assist from sophomore forward Kennedy Bearden, but NMU quickly returned the favor with a goal from Isabela Cardoso just two minutes later. 17 seconds after, GVSU’s senior forward Caitie Baron was assisted by Jones and Bearden for the third goal of the half.

In the second half of the game, NMU launched one goal into the net that didn’t count for a call on offsides.

“Playing in the snow is very challenging,” Reid said. “It slows the ball down and it makes it tough to dribble and play one-v-one battles, which we really like to do on our team, but overall I feel like we just have to overweight our passes more and you have to overcome the climate and hit it harder to get it to the person that you need to get it to.”

For their final game of the GLIAC Championship Tournament, the Lakers faced another snowy game day to play rival school Ferris State University, whom they previously tied with in the regular season, 2-2 and 1-1.

The only goal scored in the game on Sunday, Nov. 14 was by Bulldog Jessie Bandyk in the 41st minute of play, but the Lakers came out with 11 shots to Ferris’ 4 and zero saves despite the game-deciding goal in the first.

The disappointing break of the Lakers’ undefeated record doesn’t mean their season is over however. Going into the NCAA Tournament on Friday, Nov. 19, the Lakers are still going to start off the competition in the Regional Quarterfinals.

“At this point, we’re through the regular season, we’ve expected our first-year players have learned a lot of lessons throughout the regular season and they’re ready to play the system and what we’re asking of them,” Conlon said.

The team’s exceptional performance this year also earned three players First-Team All-GLIAC, three others Second-Team All-GLIAC and an honorable mention for Reid, rounded out by Conlon’s Coach of the Year for his inaugural season at GVSU.