Women’s soccer closes its season with a loss against Grand Valley State University 4-1 in the GLIAC Championship on Nov. 17.
SVSU struggled to begin the season, playing a 1-0 loss against Maryville on Sept. 6 and alternating losses and wins for the entire month of September.
With the calendar change into October and a switch to GLIAC play, SVSU caught fire and ended with a 7-2 record in GLIAC competitions, which was good for the third overall seed in the GLIAC Tournament.
After defeating Parkside 2-1 in the Quarterfinals and No. 12 Ashland 4-2 in the semi-finals, the Cardinals fell to Grand Valley
State, 4-1 in the championship.
Junior goalie Alyssa Watts had the third highest save percentage in the GLIAC, leading her on the way to being a standout on the team.
SVSU and Watts shut-out opponents seven times over the 19 game schedule, including one against No. 12 Ashland in the GLIAC playoffs. SVSU was only held scoreless five times all season, as it had a strong scoring presence.
As a team, the Cardinals were extremely balanced, as it did not have any players in the top five of any offensive category. Every game this season was a full team effort.
Everyone on the team was counted on to produce when they played, and it shows in the even statistics that every player had this
Head coach Michael O’Neill praised his team.
“It was a complete team performance,” he said. “We were fantastic at defending and our attacking play was very fluid as well.”
Alyssa Watts said the team had good chemistry.
“Our team is a family, and we work together to accomplish goals,” she said. “It feels amazing to be able to compete and make strides in our season.”
SVSU ended the season with a 12-7 record, including its 7-2 record in GLIAC matches.
While the team’s play in conference games was better than last year, the team ended with a slightly worse overall record. This did not matter, however, as the Cardinals were able to reach the GLIAC Championship, which was a team improvement from last season.
Only eight players for the Cardinals were seniors this season.: goalkeeper Abby Divozzo, forward Valentina Giambanco, midfielder Allison Sims, midfielder Hannah Tarnaski, defenseman Jennifer Muana, forward Whitney Fleming, defenseman Brianna Bishop and defenseman Molly Vanderhoff.
SVSU will return 21 players next season, including star goalie Alyssa Watts and the team’s two leading scorers – junior Sakura Bals and sophomore Amy Babon.
Coach O’Neill and the returning players will hope that they can be even more successful next season and get immediate input from the new players joining the team.