EVANS, Ga. — It would only be fitting for Grand Valley State to claim its third NCAA Division II national championship in the past five seasons with a shutout. The Lakers defeated West Florida 2-0 in Saturday afternoon’s national title match.
GVSU used its depth to grind down the Argos’ normally stout defense and kept a pair of potent forwards at bay.
After trading a few errant shots in the opening minutes of action, West Florida provided the match’s first scoring chance in the 21st minute. Senior goalkeeper Abbey Miller made sure the Argos did not get on the board. Chelsea Palmer fired a shot toward the right post from 13 yards out, but Miller slid over and swatted it away.
Just 53 seconds later, freshman forward Kendra Stauffer found an open shooting lane roughly five yards inside the right corner of the goal box. Her shot curved just outside the left post, which kept things knotted up at 0-0.
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With the Argos on the attack in the 52nd minute, Miller once again came up with a save. Sashana Campbell corralled a loose ball near the top of the 10-yard box only to watch her shot find Miller’s reliable hands.
The momentum created from the defensive stand helped the Lakers turn the tables on West Florida at the 58:35 mark.
What appeared to be an innocent shot on target wound up being Corby’s fourth goal of the NCAA tournament. She tested keeper Sarah Story with a hard shot from the top of the goal box, which hit the bottom of her hands and rolled over the line for the go-ahead tally.
Corby closed out the season with six goals and three assists in GVSU’s final seven matches.
A numbers advantage in transition allowed the Lakers to tack on an insurance goal in the 76th minute. Junior forward Jenny Shaba delivered a through-ball to Stauffer, who slipped behind the UWF backline to set up a two-on-one with sophomore forward Katie Bounds streaking down the right half of the pitch.
Stauffer forced Story to come up and stop her shot, which allowed Bounds to await the rebound and drive the ball into a wide-open goal.
GVSU’s defense made sure the two-goal advantage held up. During the final 37:26 of regulation, the Lakers only yielded one shot.
Miller set a record of her own by holding the Argos scoreless. Her 0.16 goals-against average (0.160) ranks second all time in Division II and breaks Chelsea Parise’s school record.
As a team, the GVSU matched a program record with a .840 shutout percentage, which also ranks tied for second in Division II history. The Lakers’ 24 wins were also a school record and tied for the fourth-most in the Division II record books.
GVSU finished the 2013 campaign with a 24-0-1 overall record to claim its first national title since 2010.