On Nov. 21 the number three ranked Ranger women’s soccer team, riding high on a perfect season, fell to eleventh ranked Grand Valley State University early in overtime, 1-0. It was a valiant effort on the end of the Ranger women, who could have given up at least six goals, but fought to keep them from the back of the net.
The game opened up unusually for the Ranger women, with the team being more on the defensive for the majority of the first half. Grand Valley St. controlled much of the tempo, but that didn’t stop the Rangers from attacking whenever possible. Neither team was superior, but the Lakers seemed to have the edge early and often. Senior Midfielder Kelsey Armour took the best shot of the game for the Rangers with twenty seven minutes left in the first, kicking the ball out of the reach of the keeper, but slightly above the post. Later in the first, Grand Valley was threatening deep in the box, keeper Mallory Geurts got slightly out of position and a Laker put a good shot on goal, but Defender of the Year, Senior Karley Mecko came up big, deflecting it out of bounds, keeping the score knotted at zero going into the half.
The second half started out much like the first, with the Lakers attacking early throughout, and the Rangers attacking on any opportunities that presented themselves. The game got very physical, with a lot of pushing and shoulder blocks for both sides (a GVSU player was carded with twenty four minutes left). GVSU got deep into the box on a few occasions, but First Team Member Goalie Mallory Geurts kept them in front of her; the game went into overtime still tied at zero.
The overtime period went back and forth for what seemed like a few moments; that was until the game ended on a header off of a corner kick by a GVSU player, propelling Grand Valley State into the Elite Eight, and leaving the Ranger Women defeated.
The Rangers were undefeated throughout the season, collecting the regular season and conference titles on route to a sweet sixteen appearance. The team landed six players on All-GLVC Teams, and three individual awards (Karley Mecko was Defensive Player of the Year, Bailey Reed was Freshman of the Year, and Troy Fabiano was Coach of the Year). The game was also the finale for four great Ranger careers, Kelsey Armour, Karley Mecko, Ashley Meyer and Emily Konior. In their four years, the Rangers made it to the NCAA tournament four straight times, appeared in two sweet sixteen games, and put up an astonishing record of 32-2-6 at Wood Road Field.
We at The Ranger News want to once again congratulate the UW-Parkside Women’s Soccer Team on a banner season, and on being not only one of the most dominant teams this year, but consistently achieving excellence year in and year out. You are our champions, ladies.
Article by Jalen Perry