As Grand Valley State University football fans turn their attention to Saturday's Division II championship game in Florence, Ala., the university is already celebrating the triumph of its women's soccer team.
The Laker women's soccer team claimed its first NCAA Division II National Championship December 5 in Tampa, Fla., with a 1-0 victory over Cal State Dominguez Hills in the title game. The team finished the year undefeated with a record of 22-0-4.
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, alumni 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.