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Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

GV women’s soccer looks to continue success in 2023

Courtesy GVL Archives

With high hopes and high expectations, the Grand Valley State University Women’s Soccer team will begin their title defense.

Voted to finish first in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) standings, the Lakers are anticipated to be one of the top teams in the country following their National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Sweet Sixteen appearance just a season ago.

In her first year, Head Coach Katie Hultin led GVSU to a GLIAC Championship in both the regular season and conference tournament. The Lakers earned the number one seed in the Midwest Region and reached the Sweet Sixteen. 

After her time at the University of Michigan working under Jennifer Klein, Hultin’s biggest takeaway is that slow and steady wins the race.

“The biggest thing I learned from her was how to trust the process. It’s step-by-step, game-by-game and day-by-day to reach our goals,” Hultin said.

The Lakers look to use their process to push for the pinnacle of soccer glory.

The ultimate goal as a team is to win the national championship this year. I think now since we’ve had the same coach for two years, (and) since I’ve been here, we’ve never had that, I think we have a good chance,” said senior forward, Taylor Reid.

Meeting those expectations will be a challenge as graduate senior forward, Kennedy Bearden will miss the entirety of the 2023 season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) that she suffered this past spring. Instead, she will be redshirting and taking a sixth year to come back in 2024.

“When it first happened I knew right away because I had never done anything like that,” Bearden said. “It popped and I knew. I would say the first month I was in disbelief. It didn’t feel real at all.” 

Bearden led the team in points (33) and game-winning goals (5) and said she is thankful to have Taylor Reid, among others, to help fill the void.

“I have a lot of faith in her. I think she’ll really take over this year,” Bearden said.

Reid is one of three seniors who are United Soccer Coaches Midwest All-Region First Team players: Bearden, Mackenzie Jones and Reid. All three of which also earned All-GLIAC first-team honors. Reid was a first-team All-American, as well as GLIAC Offensive Player of the Year. Junior goalkeeper Kendall Robertson is also returning, as she won GLIAC Defensive Player of the Year and second-team all-conference.

On top of the returning stars, Hultin is bringing in eleven new players. This year’s recruiting class consists of ten freshmen and a Western Michigan University transfer, sophomore Alice Spiegel. The preseason and early season are crucial for team bonding and integrating the incoming players into the team.

“This year, I think, is about sustaining that culture. The soccer will show based off of our culture,” Jones said.

Team bonding was tabbed as one of Jones’ and Reid’s favorite things about the 2022 team. Playing beach volleyball during the team’s move-in weekend was just one of the things they did to continue that in 2023, along with a barbecue. 

Apparently, soccer players and volleyball do not mix said Reid: “We played sand volleyball. It was funny because obviously we play with our feet and we don’t really play with our hands. Everybody was all over the place and laughing. You would not expect soccer players to be good at volleyball. I’ll just say that.”

Now, the Lakers look to use their culture and closeness again as a catalyst for their highly anticipated season.

“I think they know that if they come to Grand Valley that the expectation is to be the best and to perform at our best,” Hultin said. “This group is very capable of performing at a high level and performing at a championship level every day.” 

GVSU had an exhibition matchup against Lewis and Findlay before the season began. The mantra of one step at a time, one game at a time and one day at a time begins for the Lakers against Ashland on Aug. 31, at the GVSU Soccer Field at 5 p.m. in Allendale, Mich.

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About the Contributor
Nelson Hubbell
Nelson Hubbell, Sports Editor
Nelson Hubbell is the Sports Editor for the Lanthorn for the 2023-2024 school year. A senior at Grand Valley State University, before his time with the Lanthorn, he was a staff writer for The Collegiate Live, Grand Rapids Community College's student publication where he was a student for two years. He worked for a restaurant for four and a half years in Holland, Mich. called Hops at 84 East, a place he holds close to his heart. During his time there he was a manager for roughly two years. He loves camping, hiking and being outside in general. He is super passionate about football, basketball, baseball and hockey and loves all things sports and competition. Nelson will be pursuing a career in sportscasting as a play-by-play broadcaster and or as an analyst after his time at GVSU. Graduating Winter 2024 Major: Multimedia Journalism