Girls Varsity Soccer
GVSU dominates 2017 GLIAC full-season awards
BAY CITY, Mich. – The Grand Valley State Lakers went undefeated in GLIAC play in 2017, outscoring their opponents by a combined 46-1 for the nine-game conference season. Those lopsided numbers led to a well-deserved dominance in regular season honors, as announced by the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletics Conference Thursday. Seniors Gabriella Mencotti (offensive) and Dani Johnson (defensive) swept Player of the Year honors while Ava Cook earned freshman of the year and head coach Jeff Hosler was named GLIAC Coach of the Year. The Lakers also had nine players earn All-Conference honors.
Mencotti, the reigning National Player of the Year, scored 21 goals in the regular season to lead the conference in the statistic as well as total points (48). Mencotti was named GLIAC Offensive Player of the Week for the sixth week of the season, when she had two of her three consecutive hat-tricks. Mencotti had 11 goals in a three-game stretch and earned national recognition as the United Soccer Coaches Division II Player of the Week. The senior forward also held the conference lead in shots, shots on goal and game-winning goals while leading the team to a 13th straight regular season GLIAC championship. Mencotti is the third straight Laker, and tenth overall, to win the league's Offensive Player of the Year.
Johnson was a key fixture in a defense that posted 13 shutouts in the regular season, including a stretch of ten straight matches. Eight of those shutouts came in conference play, with the Lakers holding GLIAC opponents off the board until the 70' of their final conference match of the year. Johnson earned GLIAC Defensive Player of the Week for the sixth week of the season when her strong tackling and ball skills helped the Lakers hold their opponents Ashland and Tiffin to a combined one shot on goal. The defensive midfielder had a pair of assists on the season for Grand Valley State, taking 16 shots. Johnson extends the Grand Valley State streak to 11 straight years with a Laker winning the conference's Defensive Player of the Year award.
Like most freshman, Cook started slow, but quickly found her stride to become a main component of the Lakers offensive attack in her freshman season. Cook didn't have a point through three matches to start the year, but she broke out with a goal and assist in 2-0 against No. 10 Minnesota State. That started a stretch of three straight matches with a goal and ten points for the Battle Creek, Michigan native over a five-match span. Cook tied for the GLIAC-high with seven assists while tallying a fifth-best nine goals and fourth-ranked 25 points. She had a five-match goal-scoring streak in a 12-day stretch in October. Cook is the first Laker since 2010 (Ashley Botts) to take home GLIAC Freshman of the Year honors.
Hosler, in his fourth season at the helm of the Lakers, wins his first GLIAC Coach of the Year award. This is the seventh time a Lakers skipper has taken the honor. Hosler led a roster that featured six freshmen in either starting or key reserve roles to a dominating conference campaign, which capped off a 15-match win streak snapped in the final match of the regular season. After an 0-2 start to the year, Hosler's back line adjustments turned the Lakers into a suffocating force that went nearly 1000 minutes without conceding during their ten-match shutout streak, the fifth time in program history with at least 10 consecutive clean sheets.
The Lakers had five first team All-Conference members with Mencotti and Johnson joined by midfielder Tara Lierman and defenders Shannon Quinn and Madz Ham who all had breakout years. Cook was joined on the second team by fellow freshmen Cecilia Steinwascher and Gianna Parlove while senior goalkeeper Jennifer Steinaway was an honorable mention.