The SVSU women’s soccer team (9-2-2) took on the No. 1-ranked Grand Valley Lakers (13-0-1) on Friday, Oct. 12, in Allendale.
The Friday night matchup under the lights saw the Cardinals falling short in overtime against the Lakers.
Just over a minute into the game, Grand Valley struck early, as Sydney O’Donnell took control of the ball in the Cardinals’ goal box and sent it into the net for her first goal of the season, giving Grand Valley the early 1-0 lead in the first minute.
The remainder of the first half was controlled by Grand Valley, as they piled nine shots on net against SVSU’s three.
However, tides changed as the game headed into the second half, despite the Lakers outshooting the Cardinals 8-7 in the second.
“In the second half, we had more energy and momentum,” head coach Michael O’Neill said.
In the 67th minute, the Cardinals brought the game to a 1-1 tie as captain Lindsay Stroebel tapped in a goal for her sixth of the season off a pass from Mallory Hestwood. The Cardinals continued their strong play in the second half, piling up scoring chances and holding the Lakers scoreless.
“There was a lot of energy and intensity from both sides heading into overtime,” O’Neill said. “Going into the last 10 minutes of the game and into overtime, we were the better team.”
Grand Valley came out strong in overtime, and showed why they are the number one ranked team in the nation, as they garnered six shots on net against the Cardinals’ zero.
Then, in the 94th minute, Grand Valley’s Ava Cook headed the ball into the Cardinals’ net off a corner kick. The goal was Cook’s 11th of the season, with assists coming from Riko Sagara and Sydney O’Donnell.
The game ended with the Lakers outshooting SVSU 23-10, an offensive attack that proved insurmountable for the Lady Cards.
Sophomore goalkeeper Alyssa Watts put on an impressive performance in net, making 13 saves for the Cardinals in the contest.
“We were at their home field and definitely had chances to take the game, so I think it just showed us that if we come ready to play, we can compete and it doesn’t matter who our opponent is,” Stroebel said.
O’Neill echoed those thoughts as he attempted to make sense of what went wrong for the team.
“Even though we lost that game, I think we learned a lot about ourselves and took a step forward,” O’Neill said. “We took that step where we know we can compete with any one at any place and at anytime. We rose to the occasion in this game and if we
do the things we know we can, we can get a win against any team in this country.”
The Cardinals will look to turn it around in their next home game against Michigan Tech, which was in seventh in the GLIAC with a 2-4 record (7-5-1 overall).
The game will take place on Friday, Oct. 19, at noon.