Women’s soccer secures last-minute win, GV moves up to first in GLIAC rankings


GVL / Macayla Cramer

Gabriela Garbey, Staff Writer

Grand Valley State University women’s soccer pushed their win streak to four games in a row in a nail-biter against the Northern Michigan Wildcats, adding to their win column and bringing their overall season record to 6-1-2.

The game started with a defensive focus as the Laker defensive line stood strong and held off the Wildcat forwards from converting, keeping passes clean and a calm attitude.

It wasn’t until the 13th minute (13:22) that a corner kick attempt by senior forward Kennedy Bearman found junior forward Taylor Reid who was able to sneak a shot past the goal line with defenders nearby, adding the first and only points to the board in the first half as the Lakers took a 1-0 lead.

Northern Michigan attempted to follow up the opening goal with one of their own, but instead pushed a little too hard as they found themselves in foul trouble after a Wildcat defender was ejected from the game due to a red card at the 25th minute (25:40).

Aggression was a significant factor in the win for GVSU, and head coach Kate Hultin applauded the team for the way they handled the pushback and shared the advice she gave the team prior to the start of the game.

“When aggression meets aggression, talent shows,” Hultin said. “They were able to put the ball on the ground and play really good soccer and value the ball. I am really proud of them for that.”

The first half would end with the Lakers up one goal, but Northern Michigan was quickly able to put together a successful run at the goal just a few minutes into the second half. 

It began with a header attempt by the Wildcat offense which was saved by sophomore goalkeeper Kendall Robertson. However, Robertson and the rest of the defense’s efforts would fall short as NMU regained control of the ball and successfully put away a second attempt at the goal, tying up the game 1-1 within three minutes of the start of the half (46:45).

Although the beginning of the second saw a quick goal, the next 40 minutes would consist of sheer defense and several saves of shot-on-goal attempts from both sides. The Lakers had a minor scare when an NMU defender sent a screamer of a kick that deflected right off the face of sophomore midfielder Ryann Fetty.

However, Fetty would ultimately walk off the field on her own strength, acknowledging the crowd with a smile as the action resumed.

With the game tied at 1-1 as the final 10 minutes of the match loomed, pressure for both sides to convert a game-winning goal was evident. 

As the game clock ticked just under the final two minutes, fifth-year forward Kennedy Bearden received a pass from sophomore defender Stephanie Sturgeon and managed to get a shot off that laced the back of the net and put the Lakers ahead, 2-1.

Bearden shared what was going through her head in those final minutes, stating that hard work and perseverance from the team overall created the opportunity for her to finish the goal attempt successfully. 

“It was a big thrill scoring the last goal,” Bearden said. “We worked hard the whole game and to get the result at the end felt great. It took a lot of grit from our team and I’m really proud of us.”

In a last-ditch attempt at a comeback, the Wildcats took a shot at the goal that was saved by Robertson once more and would bring the game to a close in favor of the Lakers. 

Hultin, proud of her team’s win, stated that she is looking forward to keeping this flow of confidence going into their matchup against Michigan Tech.

“(We) feel good,” Hultin said. “I know Michigan Tech is going to be a tough one, but this win today gives us a lot of confidence and we are going to need our entire team to take care of Tech.

With the win, the Lakers surpassed Northern Michigan in the GLIAC standings and now sit at first overall (4-0-1 in conference).

GVSU’s next two games are Sunday, Sept. 25 against Michigan Tech and will follow it up with another home game against the Davenport Panthers Friday, Sept. 30 at 7 p.m.