Athletics Winter 2014
Laker goalkeeper sets records during championship season
photo illustration by Amanda Pitts
Grand Valley's soccer team continued its NCAA Division II dominance by winning its third national championship in five years, shutting out West Florida, 2-0, December 7 in Evans, Georgia.
It was the Lakers' 21st shutout of the season; they finished with a 24-0-1 record. The 21 shutouts ties a Division II record with the 2010 Lakers, who also won a national title. Grand Valley's first soccer title came in 2009.
The goalkeeper behind those 21 shutouts was senior Abbey Miller, from Saginaw. Millers goals-against average (0.16) set a new Laker record, as did her 24 wins as a starter.
A year ago, Miller played in four games. She credited her success in the net to head coach Dave DiIanni and former goalkeeper Chelsea Parise. "I was the back-up to Chelsea and was able to watch her and learn from her," Miller said.
At the start of the 2013 season, DiIanni and the rest of the coaching staff worked closely with Miller to help her refine her leadership skills to organize her defenders and communicate with them. She said that may have been her most difficult lesson.
"I'm more of a quiet person, so to have to shout out orders and communicate with them, it was bringing me out of my comfort zone," she said.
Among other post-season honors, Miller was named to the Daktronics Women's Soccer All-American Team and the Capital One Academic All-America second team. The accounting major carries a 3.34 GPA.