EVANS, Ga. — In 11 seasons as head coach of Grand Valley State, Dave DiIanni has never seen one of his teams execute a game plan and break down an opponent the way it did in a 4-1 victory against American International Thursday afternoon. The Lakers are now one step closer to their ultimate goal: capturing the program’s third NCAA Women’s Soccer national championship.
GVSU, which now has five wins in seven semifinal appearances, won the possession battle for nearly the entire match and eventually wore out the Yellow Jackets’ short rotation. Outside of a five minute stretch to open the second half, the Lakers were nothing short of dominant.
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Despite being on the attack for much of the opening frame, the Lakers were not able to muster a legitimate scoring chance until the 31st minute.
A perfect pass from freshman midfielder Marti Corby set up a clear shot for junior forward Jenny Shaba to put GVSU on the board. Shaba capitalized and chipped the ball past keeper Sam Tabak.
However, for a third consecutive match, the Lakers would not hold their lead for very long. Less than three minutes into the second frame, Ronja Haag drove home a rebounded shot to knot the score at 1-1.
Once GVSU regained its footing, though, it never looked back and pulled away with three goals in the final 23:44 of regulation.
Shaba got the run started with a shot into the bottom-left corner of the goal from 15 yards out off a pass from Corby in the 66th minute. Less than seven minutes later, freshman forward Erika Bradfield blew by the AIC backline before being taken down in the goal box to set up a penalty kick.
Senior defender Kayla Kimble drilled the penalty kick into the right corner of the goal to give the Lakers a 3-1 edge.
Freshman forward Kendra Stauffer tacked on an insurance goal in the 78th minute. Corby dished out her third assist of the match on the final tally.
Overall, the Lakers outshot the Yellow Jackets 19-8 including an 11-5 advantage in the second half. GVSU has now won 23 consecutive matches since it tied Armstrong Atlantic in its season-opener.