CONNEAUT — Grand Valley senior Jessica Crouch took the shot from the left about 15 yards out.
The Mustangs had struggled to sneak multiple shots on goal past Conneaut sophomore goalie Laney Pasanen until this point.
As Pasanen rushed out of goal toward Crouch, she settled, aimed and kicked the ball over Pasanen’s head to give GV a 1-0 lead with 20:11 left.
The goal helped spark a 3-1 win at Conneaut. The Mustangs improved to 4-2, while Conneaut dropped to 1-2.
Less than two minutes later, sophomore Becca Foltz found the back of the net on an assist from sophomore Alex Page.
“I think it was Alex Page who crossed it in to me, and I was right at the 18-yard line and I kicked it in,” Becca Foltz said. “[The first goal] just put a fire under us. It motivated us and got us going.”
Conneaut attacked for the final 15 minutes of the first half, but defensive adjustments helped keep them out of the net.
“I think we did great,” GV coach Vail Foltz said. “We hated to focus too much on playing defense, but we had to kinda drop back a little bit. I actually dropped an extra girl back in the defense to help cover for any extra bodies back there. Our big key was just to deny the ball.”
Freshman goalie Shaina Callaway also played a large role in limiting the Spartans’ offense during their late first-half push.
“She came up with some big saves,” Vail Foltz said. “This is only her second game [in goal]. We lost our starter, senior Ashley Marcum, we’re deep with goalies, which is great. That really helps us. Shaina’s our backup, and you saw how [well she played]. She did a fantastic job. Shaina’s an all-around athlete. She could play any position I put her out here in.”
With less than three minutes gone in the second half, Foltz added her second goal to give the Mustangs a 3-0 lead.
“The key was just a lot of hustle and good passing,” Vail Foltz said. “That’s what always wins games. We’ve been really focused on trying to make good passes. Today, we just wanted to come in and focus on making good crisp passes to people, get the ball out in the open and let ‘em go.”
From there, Conneaut attacked with a similar aggression it showed midway through the first half. Spartans junior Claire Eaton scored with 29:43 left to cut GV’s lead to 3-1. Several Conneaut possessions ended with near goals, but Callaway and senior Kat Nelson stopped each shot.
“We had our opportunities,” Conneaut coach Rebecca Thomas said. “Our opportunities were definitely there we just did not capitalize when we were presented with that chance.”
The matchup meant a little more to Vail Foltz and the Spartans than simply capturing their fourth win of the season.
“This is really big for us because they beat us in sectionals last year 5-1,” Vail Foltz said. “We wanted to come out strong. We’re a lot more rounded this year.”
GV is scheduled to play at Edgewood on Wednesday, while Conneaut hosts Ft. Leboeuf the same night.