SVSU men collect two more GLIAC wins

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SVSU men’s soccer team continued its quest for a GLIAC championship this past weekend, improving to 13-3 following wins over Lake Erie and Walsh.

An offensive onslaught against Lake Erie led to a 4-2 win. The team then avoided Walsh’s upset bid by defeating the Cavaliers’ 2-1 in overtime.

SVSU took on Walsh on Sunday. The Cavaliers came in with just a 3-9-1 conference record but gave the Cardinals all they could handle in a match then went into double overtime.

“We had so many chances in the first half but I felt like nothing was falling in our favor,” Wagstaff said.

The teams went scoreless until the 90th minute. SVSU dominated the stats sheet, outshooting Walsh 29-7 for the game, but it was Walsh that scored with just 59 seconds remaining to go up 1-0. However, SVSU responded just 24 seconds later when Oluwatobi Oyeleye found Andrew Dalou to knot the score up and force overtime.

The first overtime went scoreless, but SVSU surrendered the loss of a player when Omar Sinclair received a red card.

However, the Cardinals were able to overcome Sinclair’s absence to score in the 107th minute, when Dalou found GLIAC points leader Matt Wilson for his 12th goal of the season, and the Cardinals escaped with the win they needed over Walsh. Connor Keane was again the winning goalkeeper for SVSU.

“I’m so happy we managed to find a way to win this match (Sunday),” head coach Andy Wagstaff said. “It was a lot more stressful than I would have liked, but we still managed to come out with a huge three points.”

Friday’s home game against Northern Michigan is scheduled to kickoff at 2:30 p.m.

It was the SVSU offensive attack that made the difference against Lake Erie, a team that always seems to give SVSU fits.

“We just came out with the mentality that every game from here on out is a must win,” senior TJ Stephens said. “We came out flying from the opening kick and put them under a lot of pressure.”

Wilson was yet again the leader for the Cardinal offense, assisting on three goals and scoring one of his own.
“(Wilson) once again showed how special he can be with a goal and three assists,” Stephens said.

The first goal game in the match’s 12th minute, when Wilson found Dalou, who chipped the ball over the goalie from 15 yards out to score and put the Cardinals up by one. Eight minutes later, Wilson found Liam Reilly for his first goal of the season, giving SVSU a 2-0 edge.

“We’ve been working on a couple of things in training. We feel like the first goal came from that,” Wagstaff said. “The second goal was also something we’d worked on all week in training on a free kick.”

In the 23rd minute, it was Reilly and Wilson combining on an assist, as Troy Watson scored his second goal of the season off a corner kick.

Lake Erie scored on a penalty kick in the 26th minute, but Wilson answered just a few minutes later to round out the first half scoring.

“The second, third and fourth goals all came really quickly,” Wagstaff said. “The fourth goal was another free kick, and with a little bit of magic from Matt Wilson, he was able to strike it home.”

SVSU headed into the break up 4-1.

In the second half, SVSU fired off 16 shots, but none were able to find the back of the net. Lake Erie added a goal very late in the half, but it was too little, too late for the Storm.

“I was a little disappointed to concede anything against Lake Erie, and that’s no disrespect to them, but we’ve been on a good run of limiting teams to not a lot of action in front of our goal,” Wagstaff said.

All-in-all however, Wagstaff was pleased with the team’s performance.

“The way we moved the ball was exceptional,” Wagstaff said. “We attacked them with confidence, and that led to free kicks, corner kicks and dangerous moments that we were very clinical on,” he said.

The weekend wins pushed the Cardinals overall record to 13-3 and 11-3 in the GLIAC (33 points). Saginaw Valley stands alone atop the GLIAC standings, but Northwood (30 points) and Tiffin (28 points) are knocking on the door in second and third place respectively. Northwood has a GLIAC record of 9-2-3, while Tiffin is 9-3-1.

“We showed amazing resolve this weekend to beat a strong Lake Erie team and then come back to equalize and then eventually score the winner in overtime against Walsh,” Wagstaff said.

SVSU has two regular season games remaining, and winning out would secure the team the GLIAC championship. However, this will be a tall task, as the team travels to Tiffin on Wednesday, Oct. 26, followed by a date with Northern Michigan at home on Friday, Oct. 28.

“We will go back to work (Monday) to prepare for Tiffin on Wednesday, and its’ more about rest and recovery than anything else at this point of the season,” Wagstaff said.