Huskies Hold off No. 22 Saginaw Valley State

Soccer player dribbling the ball.
Photo courtesy of SVSU Athletics Communications

SAGINAW, Mich. – The Michigan Tech soccer team stormed out to a 3-0 lead and held on for a 3-2 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference victory at 22nd ranked Saginaw Valley State University Friday afternoon. The Huskies have now won three straight matches and four of their last six during the home stretch of the regular season.

"We had an excellent performance today and I'm really proud of our players for stepping up and hanging on for the win," Michigan Tech Head Coach Michelle Jacob said. "The three early goals were an incredible team effort to move the ball, stretch their defense, and get balls through. Saginaw is a very tough team and fought back hard in the second half. We played team defense and were able to secure a well-earned victory."

Michigan Tech (8-5-1, 3-4-0 GLIAC) got the attack going early in Friday's match when sophomore Jesse Jacobusse fired the first shot on goal of the afternoon in the second minute. Saginaw Valley State (10-3-2, 4-2-1 GLIAC) goalie Alyssa Watts was able to step in front for the save, but that shot helped set the tone for the rest of the contest.

The Huskies made a bid for the lead again in the 16th minute when freshman Stephanie Yeager blasted a shot off the hands of Watts who was able to keep the ball out of the back of the net, at least for the time being. Meanwhile, sophomore goalie Amanda Young, who was this week's GLIAC Defensive Player of the Week, denied the Cardinals a goal in the seventh minute with a save to keep the match scoreless.

With under 20 minutes to go until the break, Tech began pushing forward on the attack again which led to Friday's first goal. Jacobusse had a strike blocked, but the Huskies maintained possession to setup another shot and jump in front. Sophomore Brooke Schauer connected on the goal in the 28th minute to give Tech the 1-0 edge. Freshman Grace Shaw crossed the ball onto the 15-yard line where Schauer was waiting for the shot opportunity. Schauer picked up her second goal of the season while Shaw notched her sixth assist.

The Huskies would then add their second goal of the match with time winding down in the opening half. Freshman Hannah Loughlin slipped by the SVSU defense and setup up right in front of the net. Freshman Alicia Shatrau threaded a crossing pass right to Loughlin who planted the ball in the back of the net for her first career goal. Shatrau picked up an assist for the second consecutive game, extending Tech's lead to 2-0 in the 43rd minute.

The Huskies quickly added what would prove to be a crucial goal in the early moments of the second half. In the 50th minute, senior Marisa DeMario created separation from the defense and unloaded a kick towards the net that was saved by Watts. The ball caromed off of Watts where freshman Gabby Sgambati was waiting for a put back attempt. Sgambati made the shot count as Tech built the lead to 3-0. It was Sgambati's fourth goal of the 2018 campaign.

The Cardinals wouldn't go away quietly though and began to chip away at their deficit. In the 61st minute, Mallory Hestwood found the target on a shot from 25 yards out to make it a 3-1 score. It was her first goal of the year with the assist going to Valentina Giambanco on the crossing pass.

Saginaw Valley State kept the attack going and in the 77th minute suddenly made it a one goal game. Giambanco recorded her eighth goal of the year and was aided on the play by Molly Vanderhoff who provided a precision crossing pass.

The Huskies defense buckled down from there and allowed just one shot attempt the rest of the way. In the 78th minute, Young came up with another big save on a strike by Mallory Hestwood, keeping Tech in front. In addition, the Huskies did a solid job of maintaining possession to keep the Cardinals' offense off balance as time expired.

Jacobusse had a team high four shots for the Huskies' offense, which saw contributions from multiple players in Friday's match. Schauer, Sgambati, and Loughlin had the goals while Shaw, Shatrau, and DeMario produced assists. Tech had a slight edge in corner kicks 3-2 and Young played all 90 minutes in front of the net, collecting four saves and her eighth win of the 2018 season.

Giambanco took a match high five shots for Saginaw Valley State, leading to one goal and one assist. Hestwood followed by three shots and the other Cardinals goal of the afternoon. Vandehoff had the assist on SVSU's second goal of the match. As a team, the Cardinals had a 19-14 advantage in total shots while Watts made four saves in 90 minutes of work in front of the net.

The Huskies return to the field on Sunday when they travel to Ashland University for another GLIAC match. The kickoff is slated for 12 p.m.