Women’s soccer clinches first place in GLIAC rankings after two road wins


Courtesy / GVSU Athletics

Anthony Clark Jr., Sports Editor

Grand Valley State University’s women’s soccer capped off their regular season with two season sweeps against Purdue Northwest (2-0) and Davenport University (5-1) that were both played on the road and solidified their first-place position in the GLIAC rankings.

The Lakers managed to close out the season series against PNW with a 2-0 record as they started the match with a great deal of pressure against the opponent’s defense, as a foul inside the penalty box created a penalty kick opportunity for GVSU at the 6:46 marker.

Senior defender Brooke Russell faced up against the goalkeeper and sunk her shot attempt into the back of the net, puting the Lakers up 1-0 early and putting momentum into their favor.

The goal would be the first and only one scored throughout the first half as GVSU managed to get off a total of seven shot attempts that were either saved or missed the goal entirely while holding PNW to just one shot attempt the entire half.

Holding a 1-0 lead and containing PNW’s offense to an idle performance, the Lakers made several substitutions to start the second half but still managed to expand on their offensive momentum.

Six more shot attempts between the 53:39 marker and all the way up to the 89th minute by GVSU emphasized the dominant showing by the team, as senior defender Alexa Morello was the second Laker of the night to find the back of the net (71:51) and pushed the final score to 2-0.

Not only did the Lakers shut out the opponent, the sturdy defense held PNW to a pedestrian zero shot attempts the entire second half on their home pitch.

Following the win, GVSU also secured the season series against the Davenport Panthers (2-0) in a road win that saw yet another offensive clinic for the Lakers.

Wasting next to no time at all, freshman defender Kacy Lauer sent a shot that laced the back of the net just 38 seconds into the match (00:38) and put the Lakers on top 1-0.

The adrenaline rush proved effective once again as a foul call on the Panthers resulted in GVSU gaining possession and capitalizing without hesitation as Lauer scored off an assist by senior defender Cate Brown – putting the score at 2-0 and leaving the opponent disorganized (01:17).

Three corner kicks and two missed shot attempts by the Lakers was followed up by their third goal on the night by junior forward Taylor Reid on an assist by sophomore midfielder Nina Ferraro (13:18).

Much needed substitutions by Davenport were made, and they proved to be effective as the Panthers were finally able to respond with a goal of their own at the 21:28 marker and cut the deficit to 3-1.

Prior to the halftime whistle, the remainder of the first was more so about each side’s defense as the Lakers were unable to get another shot attempt while two shots by the Panthers missed wide left of the goal.

The second half kick off resumed action, with GVSU maintaining their offensive pressure as senior Kennedy Bearden sent the fifth goal of the match (4-1) into the net off an assist by sophomore defender Stephanie Sturgeon and junior midfielder Mackenzie Jones (48:37).

Just a few minutes later (54:53), Reid added her second goal of the night and pushed the Laker lead to 5-1.

“Our team showed up to play on Friday night,” head coach Katie Hultin said. “We wanted to end conference play on a high note and that we did. We talk about getting better every day and I think we showed our commitment to that on Friday”

Six more shot attempts by GVSU were unsuccessful, but the defensive efforts prevented the Panthers from getting any shot attempt off for the remainder of the match.

With these two wins, the Lakers finished their regular season record at 12-2-4 (10-1-3 conference record), resulting in a .778 win percentage overall.

As the No. 1 seed, GVSU will host the first round of the GLIAC Tournament against Purdue Northwest. The semifinal (Nov. 4) and championship match (Nov. 6) will be determined by whether or not the Lakers are able to advance.

“We are looking forward to the GLIAC tournament this week,” Hultin said. “The conference is strong this year and we know we will have some tough games ahead of us, but we are ready.”

The match against PNW will be played at home on Tuesday, Nov. 1 starting at 6 p.m.