Women’s soccer lose opening DII tourney round

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The SVSU women’s soccer team saw their season end Friday, Nov. 9, after losing to the Walsh University Cavaliers in the first round of the NCAA Division II National Tournament.

The Lady Cards came into the game as the fifth seed in the Midwest Region and lost 1-0 to the fourth-seeded Cavaliers in a game played at Grand Valley, the first seed in the region.

With the loss, the Cardinals ended their season with a 12-4-4 record, winning their most games since 2009.

“It was a very exciting time for the program,” head coach Michael O’Neill said.

“It was the third time making (the NCAA Tournament) in program history, and to get in was just fantastic.”

The season was one to remember for the women’s soccer team, as they had their most successful season in nearly a decade, finished third in their division, made it to the semi finals in the GLIAC Tournament and made it into the National Tournament.

“It was a very successful season,” O’Neill said. “We broke the record for shutouts and goals scored in a season. It was a great season, and I think the future is bright.”

SVSU controlled the majority of the first half against Walsh, putting up four shots against the Cavaliers’ one, but that one shot would turn out to be enough for the Cavaliers. In the 21st minute of play, the Cavaliers put their only shot on net in the first half past SVSU goalkeeper Alyssa Watts.

The goal came from junior defender Alisha Himes for her ninth of the season coming off an assist from Brianna Sanborn.

Walsh would go on to control the second half, outshooting the Cards 9-5 and keeping the Cardinals scoreless.

The team finished holding on to its slim 1-0 lead, advancing them to the next round in the NCAA Tournament, where they took on Grand Valley. That game concluded after The Valley Vanguard went to press.

Leading SVSU in points this season was junior forward Molly Vanderhoff, who finished with 26 points in 20 games and tied junior mid elder Valentina Giambanco for the team lead in goals with nine. Giambanco finished second in points, and senior Lindsay Stroebel was third in points with 14 in 20 games.

Stroebel, Vanderhoff and Giambanco were also all named to the All-GLIAC First Team, along with junior defender Jennifer Muana. Muana and Vanderhoff were both selected for the second year in a row.

This year’s team was a competitive team, losing by one goal in the four games that they lost. According to O’Neill, this was a team that played with a lot of heart and left it all out on the field each and every game.