Dec. 5, 2009
Tampa, Fla. - Grand Valley State claimed its first NCAA Division II National Championship Saturday (Dec. 5) afternoon in Tampa, Fla. with a 1-0 victory over CSU Dominguez Hills in the title game. GVSU finished the year undefeated with a record of 22-0-4.
The Toros got their first look at the goal during the ninth minute, but goalkeeper Chelsea Parise was there to record her first save of the game, when she caught a header off a throw in. Parise then quickly threw the ball up the field where Kayla Addison took a shot at the goal which landed just wide of the net. Freshman Maria Brown recorded the Lakers' first shot on goal attempt at the 25:47 mark, when she took a high shot from the left side, but goalie Alyssa Congdon was able to get a hand on it. Brown tried again from the left side during the 39th minute, but Congdon was there yet again with the save.
A minute later freshman forward Ashley Botts took a shot from inside the box which hit the right cross bar. Irie Dennis rebounded the miss shot and took a shot of her own which was caught by Congdon. The Lakers outshot the Toros by an 11-7 edge in the first half. In the shots on goal column GVSU and CSU Dominguez Hills were tied at three apiece. Grand Valley State controlled the ball most of the first half taking five corner kicks, while the Toros did not attempt one.
After a scoreless first half, freshman midfielder Erin Hilbert took the ball down the middle of the field and took a shot from just outside the box during the 72nd minute. Keeper Congdon was there to save the goal and keep the game scoreless.
The Lakers got on the scoreboard at the 77:20 mark when Katie Johnson crossed the ball from the right side, where it was kicked around and finally knocked in by Botts, giving GVSU the 1-0 lead. Botts recorded her team-high 15th goal of the year.
CSU Dominguez Hills tried to get on the board by putting two shots on goal in the last three minutes, but were unable to connect. The Toros took a shot from 18 yards out, but Parise dove to her left and deflected the ball which resulted in a corner kick. Off of the corner kick Parise recorded another save when Kristan Boyle headed the ball, where Parise caught it and secured the 1-0 win.
Grand Valley State outshot the Toros by a 23-12 advantage, including an 8-5 margin on shots on goal. Parise recorded five saves in the match, while Botts notched her seventh game-winning goal.
GVSU was well represented on the all-tournament team as four members were named to the team. Junior defender Jenna Wenglinski was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Defensive Player, as junior midfielder Kristen Eible was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Offensive Player. Joining them was senior forward Irie Dennis and freshman forward Ashley Botts.
"This win is for our program, our current team, alum and everyone that has been apart of this team in the past," Head coach Dave DiIanni said. "I am so proud of this team and of our seniors. We have great senior leadership and we are losing a very special class, but are bringing back girls who will use this experience."
GVSU will lose the services of seven seniors from the 2009 team. Fellow seniors playing their final contests were forward Irie Dennis, midfielder Katie Johnson, defenders Natalja Stanski, Lauren King, Amber Bloem and Caitlin Boyak and goalkeeper Sam DeNio. The senior class finishes their career with a record of 84-4-6 (.926) and became the most successful senior class in the program's history.
The 2009 Lakers recorded 16 shutouts and only allowed 12 goals this season. Goalkeeper Chelsea Parise notched 64 saves and recorded 13 shutouts on the year. GVSU recorded a goal in 24 of their 26 games and had 14 players record a goal for the Lakers this season.