Tying Grand Valley for the third time was out of the question.
The Bulldogs wanted the win.
The nationally 24th ranked Bulldog soccer team traveled to Grand Valley to play the nationally ranked number one Lakers in the GLIAC tournament championship on Sunday, Nov. 14. After tying the Lakers in each of their two regular season meetings, the Bulldogs finally overcame their rival with a 1-0 victory to claim their first ever GLIAC Tournament Title.
“So proud of these girls and the effort that they put in. Everybody on this roster, top to bottom, deserves to celebrate this win,” head coach Greg Henson said. “We’ve tied twice this year with Grand Valley, so to finally get the win feels great.”
Ferris’s tournament victory snapped Grand Valley’s 14 consecutive tournament titles. It also sealed Ferris’s first ever automatic bid to the NCAA tournament and second ever appearance in the tournament.
With their bid into the NCAA tournament, the Bulldogs received a number three seed and will face Saginaw Valley Thursday, Nov. 18. The time is to be announced. Ferris beat the Cardinals in the GLIAC semifinal and tied them in the regular season.
With the win, the Bulldogs moved to 15-3-3 (9-2-3 GLIAC). Grand Valley moved to 18-1-2 on their season. They finished 18-0 against all other opponents besides Ferris.
Freshman goalkeeper Darya Mosallaei picked up her 11th shutout of the season, extending her school record.
The game against the Lakers was pushed back due to a thick layer of slush that coated the field. After thirty minutes of work from the grounds crew, the officials gave the all clear to start the game.
Both teams held promising chances through the first half, but ultimately fell flat. That was until the 41st minute, when Lindsay Cole threw the ball to the feet of Isabella Zamborini. The two had a short give and go that resulted in a shot by Cole that bounced out of the grasp of Laker keeper, Kendall Robertson.
The ball found its way to sophomore Jessie Bandyk, who slotted the rebound into the back of the net. Two out of Bandyk’s three goals this season have been scored in Allendale.
After halftime, the Lakers came out swinging, keeping constant pressure on the Bulldog defense for much of the second half. Mossallaei faced two shots on net during the attack, but the record setting freshman stayed strong to add another shutout to her historical campaign.
The Bulldogs kicked off GLIAC tournament play Tuesday, Nov. 9 when they hosted the #7 seed Davenport Panthers on what seemed to be the first pleasant afternoon of October. With the sun shining, the offense was able to get off to a quick start and keep their foot on the gas to cruise to a 5-0 win.
Zamborini opened the scoring with a redirected goal just 37 seconds into the contest. Junior Nikki May picked up her seventh assist of the season on the goal as well.
The scoring came in bunches for the Bulldogs as goals #2 and #3 came just over a minute within each other. Senior Bri Rogers netted a pass from May at 16:11. Soon after, Grace VerHage would score her 12th goal this season to give the team a 3-0 cushion going into halftime.
The scoring stayed stagnant for much of the second half up until VerHage finished a pass from forward Pia Nagel. Nagel notched her fifth assist of the year, easing the team into a 4-0 lead.
At 71:01, Zamborini closed the scored for the team when she muscled a ball in from the box. Her second goal of the day brings her to seven total goals this year. Both Rogers and VerHage picked up assists on the play as well.
On Friday, Nov. 12, the Bulldogs traveled to neutral site of Grand Valley to play the Cardinals of Saginaw Valley. It was a long battle between the teams and the elements, as nearly two inches of snow blanketed the field during play.
In the final six minutes of regulation, Cole stepped up to give the Bulldogs the lead. Cole h]scored three goals this season, two of which being game winners.
SVSU wouldn’t go down without a fight, mounting a physical last chance effort to tie the game. Freshman keeper Darya Mossalaei shut the door on the Cardinals by etching herself into the history books of Ferris athletics. Mossalaei now holds the record with most shutouts in a single season with 10, breaking Grace Kraft’s previous record that she set in 2016.
The Bulldogs will now turn their attention to the NCAA tournament and their matchup with Saginaw Valley Thursday, Nov. 18 .