Women's soccer: Previewing the 2016 DII semifinals, championship
Grand Valley State is going after its fourth straight Division II title. The Lakers will face a stern challenge in the semifinal game on Thursday against Columbus State. Last year, Grand Valley State beat Columbus State 2-0 in the championship game. Western Washington also enters the semifinals feeling like it has unfinished business. A year ago, the Vikings lost 3-2 to GVSU in the semifinals.
GRAND VALLEY STATE (22-1-1)
Signature win: Eleven minutes into its away game at Walsh, Grand Valley State senior midfielder Marti Corby scored the only goal in a 1-0 victory by the Lakers on Oct. 7. It was important for Grand Valley State to start well after suffering its only loss of the season two days earlier at home to Florida Tech.
Players to watch: Sophomore goalkeeper Jennifer Steinaway has allowed only six goals in 24 starts for an average of 0.28 goals per game. She has 65 saves. Corby leads the team with 24 assists.
Interesting facts: Senior defender Clare Carlson and junior forward Gabriella Mencotti were selected as CoSIDA Academic All-Americans. It is the second straight season Carlson was selected to the first team.
Carlson, who carries a 3.92 GPA in biomedical sciences, has helped the Lakers record 19 shutouts this season. Grand Valley State has only allowed six goals.
Mencotti is a first time Academic All-American on this year's team, sporting a 3.73 GPA as a finance major. She has scored 29 goals this season and has 69 points.
Grand Valley State hasn’t given up a goal in the first half all season.
Coach: Jeff Hosler
COLUMBUS STATE (21-2)
Signature win: Columbus State scored two goals in the final 20 minutes for a 3-2 comeback victory over No. 17 North Georgia in the championship match of the Peach Belt Conference Tournament on Nov. 6. The confidence of beating a good team with late goals came in handy when the Cougars defeated West Florida 2-1 in double overtime in the quarterfinals.
Players to watch: Sophomore forward Olivia Jarrell leads the team with 19 goals. Senior forward Mandy Janowitz is capable of scoring goals or helping teammates score. Janowitz has 12 goals and 15 assists.
Interesting facts: Senior goalkeeper Maylyn Parsons and senior forward Nicole Corcione were selected as CoSIDA Academic All-Americans. It is the second straight season Corcione has made first team.
Parsons, who has a 4.00 GPA in engineering studies, has allowed 0.70 goals per game and only gave up three goals in conference play.
Corcione has a 3.58 GPA in nursing. She has scored 13 goals and has 10 assists.
Columbus State started women’s soccer in 2004. The program has made the NCAA tournament 11 straight seasons.
Coach: Jay Entlich
WESTERN WASHINGTON (22-0-1)
Signature win: Faced with its first deficit all season in the West Region championship game, Western Washington pulled out a 2-1 overtime victory over UC San Diego. The golden goal came 2 minutes into overtime by sophomore Gabriela Pelogi. The Vikings went on to beat Colorado School of Mines in quarterfinals.
Players to watch: Junior goalkeeper Ashley Homer has allowed seven goals for a goal average of 0.33 per game. Pelogi leads the team in scoring with 10 goals and seven assists for 27 points.
Interesting facts: Senior forward Elise Alyward was selected as a third team Academic All-American by CoSIDA. Alyward has a 3.84 GPA, majoring in French and a minor in anthropology. She is tied for second on the team in points with 21, scoring eight goals.
Western Washington has won three of the last four West Region titles.
The Vikings have outscored teams 60-8 this season.
Coach: Travis Connell
Signature win: Overcame a 2-1 halftime deficit to beat conference rival West Chester 3-2 to win the program’s first-ever Atlantic Region title and advance to the quarterfinals. Game-winning goal came from freshman Kristina Miller in the 59th minute. It was her first career goal. Earlier in the season, Kutztown lost 3-1 at home to West Chester.
Players to watch: Freshman Maddie Mohr, freshman Cara Griffith, senior Alaina Curry and freshman Emily Zwiercan have combined for 31 goals.
Interesting facts: Kutztown is making its first-ever trip to the semifinals. Before this season, the Golden Bears only had one NCAA tournament victory in their history.
Kutztown set a program record for wins in a season and tied a program record for shutouts with 13.
Coach: Erik Burstein