ALLENDALE, Mich. – The Michigan Tech soccer team battled the defending NCAA Division II Naional Champion Grand Valley State University on Sunday afternoon in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title game, falling by the final of 5-0. The Huskies had an impressive regular season and tournament run, defeating Ferris State 2-1 and Walsh 1-0 to make it to the championship match.
"Grand Valley State is a solid team and they got some goals on us early," Michigan Tech Head Coach Michelle Jacob said. "I told our team that we have a lot to be proud of and we were playing today when a lot of other teams were not with their seasons having ended. We kept playing hard throughout the match and never gave up. We had great leadership from our seniors and our fan support was outstanding again today."
Grand Valley State (19-1-1) went in front on the first shot of the game in the 4th minute which set the tone for the afternoon. Gabriella Mencotti scored the goal which went into the books as the game winner when she tucked the ball into the corner of the net off a through ball. Tara Lierman and Marti Corby each picked up assists on the goal.
A few minutes later, the Lakers were back on the board when Jayma Martin added her 17th goal of the season, finding an opening in the far side of the net. Erika Bradfield picked up the assist on the goal that made it a 2-0 game. Then in the 12th minute, Martin scored again to increase the gap to 3-0 without the aid of an assist.
Michigan Tech (12-4-3) kept battling and just over a minute after the Martin goal freshman Alex Vasile just missed getting the Huskies on the board on a shot that was saved by goalie Jennifer Steinaway. With time winding down in the first half, junior Kat Farkas challenged Steinaway again, but unfortunately had her blast turned away. Senior Megan Armstrong also came close to finding the back of the net in the first half with a strike that glanced off the crossbar and away from the net.
Leading 3-0 at the break, the Lakers posted two more goals in the final period to pull away. Kendra Stauffer recorded the fourth goal of the match in the 55th minute off an assist by Corby. The afternoon's fifth goal was tallied in the 60th minute with Gabriella Mencotti heading a ball in off a corner kick.
The Huskies had a couple of scoring chances in the final 45 minutes when senior Jaci Mielke had a shot sail just wide right and in the 86th minute sophomore Rachel Wall forced Steinaway to make another save. Tech continued to put pressure forward on the offensive end until the final horn sounded. With under a minute to go, Darby McLaurin lifted another shot towards the net that was saved by Steinaway.
Meilke took five of the 11 shots on the afternoon for the Huskies with Vasile, Wall, Farkas, and McLaurin each recording shots on goal. Goalie Kirsen Hudak played all 90 minutes in front of the net and made a season high 11 saves in the contest.
Mencotti and Martin powered the Lakers offense with two goals apiece and Steinaway ended up making four saves in the match. GVSU had the advantage in total shots at 30-11 and in corner kicks with a margin of 7-1.
Three Huskies were named to the GLIAC All-Tournament Team for their outstanding play in the postseason. Mielke, Farkas, and senior Emily Morin represented Tech with spots on the All-Tournament team. Mielke scored a pair of goals for Tech in the tournament, including the game winner against Walsh in the semifinals. Farkas and Morin each provided strong defense for the Huskies, who posted another shutout in the 1-0 win against Walsh while holding Ferris State to just one goal in the quarterfinal match.
Tech will now await word on a potential at-large bid to the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Tournament which will be announced on Monday.