Women’s soccer clinches share of MIAA title with victory over Hope
On a crisp autumn Saturday at Zuidema field, the passing and shooting of the women’s soccer team was just as crisp, as it defeated Hope College 2-0 and clinched a share of the MIAA title.
The Knights sought to avenge their 2-0 loss to Hope earlier in the season, and did just that with an all-around, well-executed performance.
“We stayed strong the whole game,” said freshman Abigail Ploeg.
The first ten minutes were partially chaotic for Calvin, but as they relaxed the team entered into more consistent play. Even with Hope outshooting them 6-2 in the first half, Calvin was able to capitalize on one of its two shots to take the lead.
Senior Frencesca Smith sent the ball into the box in the 41st minute with Hope’s keeper making the initial stop. The rebound made its way through a maze of players to the edge of the 18-yard box, where Ploeg collected and calmly deposited the ball into the back of the net.
“It deflected just off the keepers fingers and went in,” said Ploeg.
After the half Calvin started to play to its potential. Ploeg said their game plan focused on shutting down Hope’s offense and not making the same mistakes they made in the previous meeting.
Junior Kelly Koets agreed, saying they tried to “play D on the flanks and watch [Hope’s] speed on the wings.”
That strong defense translated into good possession and more scoring chances — the Knights outshot Hope 9-3 in the second half.
In the 59th minute, Koets made a quick pass to freshman Taylor TenHarmsel who was just outside the 18. TenHarmsel returned the ball to Koets, a nice give-and-go, to leave Koets all alone with the keeper. Koets struck the ball, placing it just inside the left post for her seventh goal of the season.
Junior keeper Ashton Hearn recorded three saves to ensure a clean sheet for the Knights. Hearn‘s most impressive stop came early in the second half when she rushed out on a Hope through ball, blocking the initial shot near the edge of the 18.
The win clinched a share of the MIAA title for Calvin women’s soccer with an overall record of 12-4-1 (11-3-1 in the MIAA).
“It’s awesome,” said Koets about the title, “but we want to win it outright!”
The Knights have a chance to secure the outright title if they can take home the win at Adrian this Wednesday at 4 p.m.