NMU soccer: Wildcats fall to No. 1 GVSU, hit road to lock up GLIAC tournament spot

MARQUETTE – The Northern Michigan University soccer team wrapped up its 2013 home slate Sunday with a 3-0 loss to No. 1-ranked Grand Valley State at the NMU Soccer Field in Marquette, and will now hit the road to try and lock up a spot in the GLIAC Tournament.

At 4-4-2 in the GLIAC and 4-9-2 overall, the Wildcats sit sixth in the GLIAC at 14 points while Northwood is two points back in seventh, Findlay is three points back in eighth and Lake Erie is four points back in ninth.

The top eight teams reach the GLIAC Tournament and Northern is attempting to return after missing the league’s postseason tournament last season.

Northern closes at Walsh on Friday and Malone Sunday.

“Our goal all year has been to get back in the GLIAC tournament,” NMU head coach Matt Granstrand said. “We missed it once ever and that was last year. That was a big disappointment.

“We’re fighting just to become respectable again and work our way back up in the league. It’s a young team and I think we’re doing just that.”

On Sunday, the Lakers (14-0-1 overall, 11-0 GLIAC) extended their win streak to 14 games via three first-half goals.

GVSU senior midfielder Shelby Humphries gave GVSU a 1-0 lead in the 17th minute via a header past NMU true freshman goaltender Alexandra Simmons, who finished with five saves.

Junior midfielder Charlie Socia then set up freshman midfielder Marti Corby in the 23rd minute from the top of the penalty box that gave GV a 2-0 lead.

In the 38th minute, freshman forward Erik Bradfield fed an open Kendra Stauffer, a freshman forward, on the opposite side of the box for the 3-0 margin.

“They are the class of the league, class of the country, and I think we played them pretty strong,” Granstrand said. “When we made mistakes, we were punished, which is what good teams do to you.”

The Lakers, who have won every game since a scoreless season opener, were held without a goal in the second half and forced to fend off an NMU attack for much of the second half before closing out the game.

Northern, which was outshot 5-4 in the second half after being peppered 9-2 in the first half, was unable to break through and score.

NMU sophomore defender Hailey Beyrand, junior defender Heather Amr and sophomore midfielder Gabriella Garza were credited with shots on goal.

In 15 games, GVSU has allowed just one goal and that came Friday at Michigan Tech.

Matt Wellens can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252.