Women’s soccer team continues downward trend in October

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The SVSU women’s soccer team looked to rebound after going 1-1 in the GLIAC play last weekend, but the lady Cardinals continued to trend downward over the weekend.

On Friday, the Cardinals looked to go .500 in GLIAC play as they traveled across the state to play Ferris State. The Bulldogs came out on top 1-0 in the match.

SVSU brought a strong offensive attack early. Just two minutes into the game, freshman Valentina Giambanco sent a shot towards the Bulldog goalie Grace Kraft that went just high of the net.

Soon after, the Cardinals gained possession again, and senior and leading goal scorer for SVSU Ashley Henderson headed a cross towards goal, but Kraft was able to get her hands on it.

“We have struggled as of late to execute our game plan in the first half of our games,” senior captain Shelby Watts said. “We were able bring our game plan Friday and get some good looks at goal.”

The Cardinals continued to battle for possession, looking to score the first goal of the game.

Starting in the 13th minute, the Cardinal attack was menacing. Molly Vanderhoff and Giambanco each took multiple chances, sending five shots at goal in as many minutes. However, none of the shots found success.

It wasn’t until the 24th minute before the Cardinals had to defend against a Bulldog threat. Hilerie Schatzle looked to score, but Freshman goalie Paola De Ianuza was able to control the ball to make the first of her nine saves in the match.

De Ianuza made her third straight start on the season after senior goalkeeper Claire Spleth was out with a concussion.

Both teams continued to create chances the rest of the game; however, both goalies proved effective and no goals were scored.

“We had a very strong performance in the first half,” head coach Michael O’Neill said. “We showed some real quality play and were unfortunate to not get ahead.”

Looking to find success in the second half against a stingy Cardinal defense, the Bulldogs took to the field with a vengeance. Two minutes into the half, Ferris State’s Tia VanSuilichem received a cross from Rachel Fouts to send in a deep shot that scored the first goal of the game.

“We were never able to gain control of the game after that goal,” O’Neill said. “We have to show more poise in these tough conference games, and we can’t let the pressure get to us this time of the year.”

Two minutes later, the Cardinals looked to return the favor. Sakura Bals and Amada Minissale sent harmful shots toward the keeper, but the keeper kept steady.

Ferris State looked to create some space between their opponents and expand their lead, but De Ianuza continued to shine in her first start.

In the 52nd and 53rd minutes, De Ianuza faced strong shots from Ferris State’s Brandi Wagner and, in both occasions, held steady on the ball.

Every shot De Ianuza would face for the rest of the match went over or away from the goal or into her hands.

Getting closer to the end of regulation, SVSU still looked to gain some control of the game in the 86th minute. Henderson looked to even the game up with a solid run towards goal, but her shot fell wide of the net.

Ferris State held possession for the final four minutes and held on to the 1-0 win.

SVSU had a chance to get back into the playoff talk Sunday with a win against top-rated Grand Valley, but were stifled 4-0 at home.

The Cardinals opened up the game with strong offensive play, earning a corner and a shot within the first few minutes.

Both teams battled for possession and looked for offensive breaks, trading shots for the first part of the game.

“We really controlled the first 10 minutes of the game.” O’Neill said. “We got caught out of position and played panicked.”

Eight minutes in, Gabriella Mincotti found an open lane down the field and put a strong move on the keeper to walk the ball into the net to open the scoring for Grand Valley. It was her 21st goal of the season.

Two minutes later, SVSU midfielder Lindsey Stroebel hit a flying shot from 30 yards out that barely missed the net, ringing the left post.

Grand Valley’s Jayma Martin ran down the field off of the rebound from the miss and took a shot on goal. The Cardinal goalkeeper Abby DiVozzo couldn’t take control, and Grand Valley’s Kendra Stauffer put it in an open Cardinal net to bring the score to 2-0.

Grand Valley kept up the offensive pressure when Corby Marti found Stauffer running wide. Stauffer got a good connection on the ball and sent the ball into the back of the net for her second goal of the game.

In the 20th minute, Stauffer nearly completed her hat trick, but she was called offside to take away her goal.
Neither team created a chance at goal for the rest of the half.

Grand Valley opened up second half play by making quick work of the Cardinal defense, getting a shot towards goal within the first few seconds.

The Lakers continued offensive pressure throughout the half, but the frustrating defense from the Cardinals kept them away from the score.

SVSU played a challenging match against a great team. They continued to create chances while getting pressure towards the Laker attack.

It wasn’t until the 83rd minute that Martin would widen the deficit to four which is where the game would end, 4-0.

“Soccer is something you should enjoy – it’s a passion,” O’Neill said. “We didn’t enjoy playing the game in the first half. We had to believe in ourselves and forget we were playing one of the best teams in the nation and just enjoy the game at hand. That’s what really made the difference in the second half.”

After the loss, SVSU sits in ninth place in the GLIAC standings with an overall record of 9-7-1 and a GLIAC record of 3-6-1.

Next Friday, Oct. 28th, SVSU will welcome Northwood to Braddock Field for a 1 p.m. matchup on Senior Day.