PITTSBURGH, Pa. – The No. 1 Grand Valley State Lakers are headed to the NCAA Division II National Championship game after a 3-0 win over the Lee Flames Sunday night at Highmark Stadium. The Lakers improve to 25-0-1 on the year while the Flames end their season at 17-7-1.
Neither team found much offense in the first 20 minutes, with the teams combining for just three shots. Sydney O'Donnell sparked the GVSU offense when she lofted a brilliant cross into the right corner, where Caitie Baron used her speed to get behind the remainder of the Lee defense and blast a goal into the top shelf.
In a blur, the Lakers doubled their lead when Riko Sagara went striding through the defense and feathered a perfect through ball to Ava Cook, who bullied her way tight on frame and tucked home her 24th goal of the year. The assist from Sagara was her nation-leading 23rd this season and she'll have one more game to try and match, or break, the GVSU single-season record of 24.
The Lakers carried a 2-0 lead at the half and would find the dagger when Chelsea Graves struck from distance and deflected a ball of the keeper and into goal. GVSU would grind out the final 25 minutes and celebrate a trip to the National Championship.
GVSU, eying the program's sixth National Championship, will face the Bridgeport Purple Knights in a rematch of a regular season meeting earlier this year in Allendale. The final match of the 2018 women's soccer season will kick off at 3 PM at Highmark Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. GVSULakers.com will provide links to live stats and video while @GVSUSoccer provides live Twitter updates.