Herald-Whig

Hawks fight back but can't overcome early deficit in regional final

Quincy University's Mackenzie Rief tries to dribble around Grand Valley State's Cecilia Steinwascher during Friday's game for the NCAA Division II Midwest Region championship at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, Mo. | Photo for The Herald-Whig by Andrew Mather
By THE HERALD-WHIG STAFF
Posted: Nov. 17, 2017 9:05 pm Updated: Nov. 18, 2017 12:05 am

WARRENSBURG, Mo. -- The Quincy University women's soccer team wasn't shaken as Grand Valley State went ahead 2-0 late in the first half Friday afternoon.

"We've been down before," QU forward Mackenzie Rief said. "The mindset was lower than it was at the start of the game, but it wasn't anything anybody was too concerned about.

"We obviously had to pick up the intensity."

Defender Natalie Quisenberry got the Hawks on the board with a laser shot from 25 yards out with five minutes until halftime, giving QU momentum.

"That was a huge advantage for us to only be down one instead of two," Rief said. "We didn't have the wind with us in the first half, and that was crucial. We definitely played a lot better (in the second half)."

QU, however, couldn't turn that momentum into a tying goal as top-seeded Grand Valley State beat the second-seeded Hawks 3-1 in the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional finals at South Recreation Complex on the University of Central Missouri campus.

QU ends its season with a 17-4-1 record.

"When we went down 2-0, I was happy to see the girls fight back," Hawks coach Dave Musso said. "Especially by getting that goal before halftime. We've been down before, but we never thought we were out of it."

QU had reasons in the second half to believe the tying goal was coming.

Less than 20 minutes into the second half, Rief fired a shot from just outside the box that blasted off the crossbar and went out for a corner kick. The Hawks couldn't convert on the ensuing corner.

"That was a big chance," Musso said. "She smoked the crossbar, and it could have been 2-2."

"That shot was super unlucky," Rief said. "A few inches lower and that's in. I definitely thought we were in the game."

A comeback became even more difficult a minute later when defender Gabby Orlando picked up her second yellow card of the second half and forced QU to play with 10 players for the final 25 minutes.

QU didn't seemed fazed. Rief had another shot a minute later that was parried by Lakers' goalkeeper Jennifer Steinaway for a corner. Rief got a header on the corner kick sent in by Quisenberry, but it sailed over the crossbar.

It was the last real chance the Hawks had.

Grand Valley State pushed the lead to 3-1 when Ava Cook dribbled through QU's defense from midfield and fired a shot into the upper right-hand corner with 10 minutes remaining.

"Going down a player changed things," Musso said. "It's hard when you try to push up the field with nine field players instead of 10. Even at the end, though, we gave ourselves a chance."

Grand Valley State (20-3) scored in the 11th minute when Gabriella Mencotti hit a left-footed shot to the left of QU goalkeeper Megan Swanson. The lead doubled in the 34th minute when QU lost possession in its defensive third. Mencotti collected the loose ball and sent in a low cross to Tara Lierman, who tapped home the shot from point-blank range.

QU answered six minutes later on Quisenberry's long goal.

"With everyone in the box, I thought I had the best angle to take that shot," Quisenberry said. "I just went for it."

Grand Valley State outshot QU 31-15, and 16 of those shots were on goal. Swanson made 13 saves.

 

Grand Valley State 3, Quincy 1

QU GVSU

15 Shots 31

13 Saves 3

6 Corners 8

4 Offsides 0

15 Fouls 11

Quincy 1 0--1

Grand Valley State 2 1--3

G--Gabriella Mencotti (Tara Lierman, Gianna Parlove), 11:00

G--Lierman (Mencotti), 34:00

Q--Natalie Quisenberry (unassisted), 40:00

G--Ava Cook (unassisted), 80:00