Tripped up by GVSU

Bulldogs have six games left in the season; hopes of playoffs motivate them

Playing Keep Away: Lady Bulldog sophomore midfielder/defender Riley Wood works to keep possession from Grand Valley State. Ferris would be shutout 3-0 against the No. 6-ranked Lakers. Photo By: Olivia Odette | Photographer
It was a long 90 minutes for Ferris’ women’s soccer team on Oct. 6. It felt much longer due to the fact that the Bulldogs weren’t able to escape the first 10 minutes of the match without giving up a goal.

A 3-0 drubbing, courtesy of the nationally ranked No. 6 Grand Valley State Lakers, ensued after Jenny Shaba’s game winning goal in the sixth minute of the match.

“[Coach Matt Kellogg] told us after the game that we need to stop making the same mistakes over and over again,” Sophomore midfielder Stephanie Garland said. “We need to focus and really use what we learn in practice in games.”

To make matters worse was the goal coming with just four seconds remaining in the first half, which came off the foot of Grand Valley’s Cassandra Wiltshire.

The Bulldogs’ numbers tell a story of a game spent mostly in their own half of the field. Sophomore midfielder Leanne Boehm tacked on the only shot on goal, which was a header Grand Valley goaltender Chelsea Parise was ready for.

The loss dropped Ferris to 4-4-3 overall with just six games remaining in the regular season. Of the six, four are road games, all out of state in Ohio. The team has performed better on the road this season, posting a 2-1-1 mark.

One of the matters of concern for the team is their inconsistency in close games. They are 2-2 this season in games decided by one goal. While they have won twice in overtime this season, they have dropped one game—the season opener to Indianapolis—and tied three.

Last season, the Bulldogs backed into and out of the playoffs. Ferris finished 1-4-1 in their last six games which includes a first round season ending 1-0 loss to Ashland in the 2011 GLIAC Tournament.

This year the Bulldogs will stand toe-to-toe with conference leader Michigan Tech among others in their stretch of six games heading into the conference tournament.

“The final stretch of the season is always really important,” Garland said. “It’s easy to get distracted by school or getting homesick. We just have to remember how bad we want to finish in the top of the conference and get in a good position for the tournament.”

If the tournament started today, Ferris would face off with Saginaw Valley State, who it played to a 1-1 draw on Sept. 23. SVSU has gone 3-1 since that matchup, while the Bulldogs have stayed level at 1-1-1.

“I really believe we can go undefeated in our final six games, but like I said before, it’s all about staying focused,” Garland said.

Confidence is half the battle and it’s certainly there. While battling for position in the tournament, Ferris will have to fend off possible late charges from Findlay and Ohio Dominican, who can bounce the Bulldogs from the post-season if Ferris does not finish strong.

It will be an exciting stretch heading into the post-season for the Bulldogs. Ferris has all the pieces to motivate them. n