Grand Valley State advances to fourth consecutive NCAA semifinal
ALLENDALE, Mich. -- Grand Valley State advances to its fourth consecutive NCAA semifinal after a 5-4 penalty kick shoot out against Minnesota State-Mankato on Sunday at the GVSU Soccer Field. Grand Valley State will now face UC San Diego in the NCAA semifinal on Nov. 29.
GVSU now holds a 20-1-3 record, while Minnesota State completes its season at 17-1-5. The seniors wrap up their careers having never lost a game in front of a home crowd. The Lakers will enter the 2013 season with a 52-game home unbeaten streak, which is the second best in the NCAA Division II record book.
Senior Maria Brown connected with senior Ashley Botts in the 12th minute to give the Lakers a 1-0 lead. Brown streaked up the left side to find Botts who then beat the Maverick back line and fired into the upper right hand corner for her 17th goal of the season.
The Lakers added to their lead in the 70th minute when an MSU misstep allowed Casey McMillan to break away from Maverick defenders and send a shot into the far side of the net for the 2-0 lead.
Later in the half, Minnesota State tacked on two goals in less than three minutes. In the 83rd minute, MSU earned a free kick that Graboski sent flying into the right side. Less than three minutes later, Breanna Steele sent her shot just under the crossbar to tie the game.
Neither team could find the net in the overtime periods, with Minnesota State holding a slight 3-2 edge in shots in the extra time.
After 110 minutes of play, the teams advanced to penalty kicks. It was the second consecutive match-deciding shootout for MSU, but the first for the Lakers this season. However, the shootout situation is not unfamiliar territory for GVSU as the Lakers advanced to the NCAA semifinals and championship game on penalty kick victories in 2011.
Both teams missed on their first attempts before Graboski made it for MSU and McMillan converted her shot. Brianne West's successful shot was followed by sophomore Charlie Socia's goal. The next shots were turned away by Maverick goalkeeper Molly McGough and GVSU senior keeper Chelsea Parise.
With Ashley Sykora’s score on the fifth try for the Mavericks, Botts had to score. Botts shot looked to be knocked out by McGough, but instead rolled into the back side of the net to even the shoot out at three.
Mavericks' Lauren Somers and GVSU freshman Kelly Capoccia traded goals in round six before the next MSU kick sailed high above the net. Junior Taylor Callen succesfully converted her shot to secure the Lakers berth into their fourth consecutive semifinals.
For the game, GVSU held a 17-13 advantage in shots and took four corners to the Mavericks' one. Parise made six saves in the game, while McGough also turned away six.