(NCAA.com) These two programs are almost diametrically opposed when it comes to NCAA championship experience – the Grand Valley State Lakers have five titles in the last decade while the Lee Lady Flames are newbies to the semis.
But while Lee may be new to the semifinal scene, the Lady Flames aren’t unfamiliar with success. They won an unprecedented four straight NAIA championships from 2008-11 and have qualified for the NCAA tournament in all four years of postseason eligibility since becoming an active member of Division II in 2015.
In this year’s tourney, the Lady Flames burned previously unbeaten West Florida in the second round and Columbus State in the quarterfinals. Coach Chris Hennessey’s club features seven sophomores or freshmen in the starting lineup. Two of them –
freshmen Avery Engels (CFC Academy alum) and Lauren Weimer – tallied game-winning goals during the Lady Flames’ march to the semis.
Grand Valley State is 24-0-1 on the year and is an offensive juggernaut, outscoring their three Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) tournament opponents 13-1 and piling up 20 goals through the first four games of the NCAA tournament.
The Lakers have scored five or more goals in 11 matches, including their last one – a 6-1 demolition of defending champion Central Missouri in the quarters. Ava Cook tallied two goals in the first eight minutes of that match and has 10 goals in the tournament. She’s the GLIAC leader in goals (23) and points (51) and has led the Lakers to most goals scored in all of Division II with 96 and a 3.84 scoring average, good for second in the nation.
The Lady Flames were 1-3-1 in overtime during the regular season but have registered three extra-session wins in the tournament … Grand Valley State coach Jeff Hosler in only five seasons has led the Lakers to a pair of NCAA Championships, three NCAA title game appearances and four trips to the Elite Eight. He holds an overall record of 112-9-5.
Four teams battled through the bracket and remain alive in the hunt for the 2018 title. Stay right here from opening kickoff to the final whistle for live updates, highlights, and analysis from the DII women's soccer championship.
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