Release courtesy of the GVSU Sports Information Department
ALLENDALE, Mich. - The Grand Valley State women's soccer team advances to its fourth straight NCAA Division II Semifinal after a dramatic 5-4 penalty kick shoot out against Minnesota State on Sunday afternoon at the GVSU Soccer Field.
Grand Valley State faces UC San Diego in the NCAA Semifinal on November 29 in Evans Park, Ga. The game will be a rematch of the 2010 National Championship in which the Lakers won their second straight title with a 4-0 victory in Louisville, Ky.
GVSU now holds a 20-1-3 record, while Minnesota State completes its season with a 17-1-5 mark. The senior class wraps up its time on the GVSU Soccer Field having never lost a game in front of a home crowd with a 49-0-3 mark. The Lakers will enter the 2013 season with a 52-game home unbeaten streak on the line, which is second best in the NCAA Division II record book.
After 110 minutes of play, the teams advanced to penalty kicks. It was the second straight match-deciding shoot out for MSU, but the first time for the Lakers this season. However, the shoot out 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 freshman Casey McMillan (Byron Center, Mich.) converted her shot. Brianne West's successful shot was followed by sophomore Charlie Socia's (Portage, Mich.) make. The next shots were turned away by Maverick goalkeeper Molly McGough and GVSU senior keeper Chelsea Parise (Sterling Heights, Mich.).
With the Ashley Sykora make on the fifth try for the Mavericks it was a must make for senior Ashley Botts (Beloit, Wis.). Botts shot seemed to to be knocked out by McGough, but instead rolled into the back side of the net to even the shoot out at 3-3.
Mavericks' Lauren Somers and GVSU freshman Kelly Capoccia (Farmington Hills, Mich.) 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 Final Four.
During regulation time, senior Maria Brown (Columbus, Ohio) connected with 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 and 11th post season tally.
The Lakers added to their lead in the 70th minute when an MSU misstep allowed McMillan to break away from the Maverick defenders as she sailed a shot into the far side of the net for the 2-0 lead.
It was short lived as Minnesota State tacked on two goals in less than three minutes later in the half. 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.
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.
For all of the GVSU women's soccer postseason information check GVSULakers.com.