HOUGHTON - Ultimately, the result did not matter for the Michigan Tech soccer team. Regardless of how Sunday's regular season finale with Walsh ended, the Huskies would be the No. 2 seed in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
Still, after exploding from two sub-.500 seasons to contending for the GLIAC title, no one on the Tech side wanted the last regular season game for the program's most successful season to end in a draw.
As she has done all season, attacking midfielder Lindsay Van Rooy ensured it wouldn't.
Michigan Tech players celebrate the eventual game-winning goal by Lindsey Van?Rooy (11)?with seven minutes remaining in regulation of the Huskies’ regular season finale against Walsh Sunday at Sherman Field in Houghton. (DMG photo by David Archambeau)
The junior - who leads Tech with nine goals in 17 games this season - ran onto a simple pass from fellow mid Janelle Riedl with seven minutes left in regulation and space in front of her. Van Rooy took one touch and unloaded a strike from 35 yards out that beat Walsh keeper Taylor Stano high to provide the winner for the GLIAC co-champion Huskies, 2-1.
"I think our midfielders did a good job today of getting in gaps," Tech coach Michelle Jacob said. "We maybe struggled a bit in the beginning, but at halftime we talked to Janelle (Riedl) and Lindsey (Van Rooy) about getting into those open spaces and when Lindsey got that goal it really came from running into an open space."
Van Rooy's strike relieved tension after Tech had just missed on several other chances in front of net. Merely one minute earlier, Katie Boardman volleyed a Lexi Herrewig cross right into Stano's stomach, while Tech took 14 shots (seven on goal) for the day.
Near the match's end, it appeared Tech's high possession of the ball was starting to wear on Walsh as the defense slowed in pursuit. Van Rooy and Riedl found space as their chasers weren't quite as dogged as they were in the first half.
"Part of our goal to possess the ball is that they have to work hard but it also means we don't have to work as hard," Jacob said. "It is so important for us to be able to find feet and move it constantly. I think throughout the game, and especially in the second half, we were able to move the ball faster (than the defense) and we were able to create a lot of good shooting opportunities."
The Huskies got on the board in the 11th minute after central defender MacKenzie Jordon flicked home a Janelle Riedl free kick over the hands of the charging Stano. It was Jordon's second set-piece goal of the season.
"That first one from Jordon was so wonderful," Jacob said. "She is so great in the air, that she always seems to find a way to get on the end of it."
Up next for Tech will be Tiffin on Tuesday (2 p.m.) at Sherman Field for the first round of the GLIAC Tournament. The Huskies defeated Tiffin 1-0 in September this year.
In preparation for the third game in six days, Jacob substituted freely Sunday to ensure everyone had enough rest.
"Tuesday is going to come quick and you don't have a lot of recovery time," Jacob said. "So we just made sure to take care of the girls and make sure everybody is ready."