Courtesy of GVSU Athletic Communications
ALLENDALE, Mich. -- It may have been a bigger stage, but in the end it was the same old show. The No. 1 Grand Valley State Lakers topped No. 13 Ferris State, 2-1, in the Midwest Region Championship to claim a tenth consecutive regional title. The Lakers, who improve to 23-0-1 on the season, beat Ferris for the third time this year and have now topped their in-state foe in 30 of the last 31 meetings. The Lakers advance to the NCAA Quarterfinals, where they will face defending National Champions Central Missouri on Sunday (Nov. 18) at 1:00 PM at the GVSU Soccer Field.
Each of the Lakers three wins over Ferris this year marked a celebration. Their regular season 2-1 win in double overtime clinched the GLIAC regular season title, a 4-0 win in the GLIAC Tournament finals clinched a 12th straight tournament crown and the latest caps off ten Midwest Region championships in a row. This Laker team hasn't gotten many national headlines this season, be it because Grand Valley State victories have become the norm, or the expectations overshadow the accomplishments, but this is not the same old Lakers. This is a GVSU team that lost 14 players from a year ago. A squad that has just five players older than sophomores, a team battling countless injuries and trials. They've yet to err, and their reward is hoisting the Midwest Region trophy above their home field Friday afternoon.
Two freshmen found the net for the Lakers Friday. After a 2' goal from Ferris State put the Lakers behind for the first time all post-season, Timia Robinson tapped home a long service in from Sydney O'Donnell to equalize. The Lakers held a 25-1 edge in shots and a 7-1 advantage in shots on goal at the break, but found themselves deadlocked at halftime. With the game still even at the 70', another great service from O'Donnell found Caitie Baron in the box, who slid the ball across to Chelsea Graves, who calmly struck home her second game winner of the year.
GVSU will face Central Missouri with a trip to the Final Four on the line for the fifth straight year. The Lakers won the first three meetings before a 3-1 loss last year in Warrensburg, Mo. ended the Lakers season as the Jennies went on to win the National Title. The new-look Lakers will look to avenge their loss from a year ago Sunday when the teams square off to determine who heads to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and the final site of the NCAA soccer season. GVSULakers.com will provide links to live stats and video while @GVSUSoccer will live Tweet the match.