Men’s soccer takes regular season MIAA title
The men’s soccer team geared up for the MIAA Conference tournament this week with a 4-0 victory over Kalamazoo Wednesday and a 2-2 tie against Adrian Saturday.
The No. 24 Calvin Knights clinched the regular season MIAA title with their play at Adrian Saturday. In a tight game, Calvin went to double overtime after Adrian scored on a header in the 85th minute. The goal came less than a minute after freshman midfielder Taylor Pruis scored the go-ahead goal for Calvin.
Pruis took the opportunity in the 84th minute after sophomore forward Travis Vegter missed a shot off the goalpost. “The rebound came right to me and all I had to do was hit it into the mostly open net,” said Pruis.
Pruis, who subbed into the game with 20 minutes left, was certain that the game was over. “I thought it would be the winning goal but unfortunately we let in one more,” Pruis said.
According to Vegter, Adrian’s game-tying goal stemmed from a defensive mistake. “[Adrian] tied the game at two goals apiece on a lapse of team defending as a whole,” Vegter said.
Vegter, who scored Calvin’s first goal in the 66th minute, referred to Adrian’s effective defense. “The Adrian game was especially difficult to make chances for ourselves,” said Vegter. “It wasn’t uncommon to see at least nine of their players in our attacking goal box.”
Adrian took the lead in the 41st minute on a header off a free kick. Senior forward Joe Broekhuizen called the goal “unlucky” for Calvin. “We got a bit unlucky on their first goal off a set piece, but we were able to fight back second half and take the lead,” Broekhuizen said.
Tied after regulation, Calvin and Adrian went to two 10-minute overtime periods. According to Broekhuizen, Adrian’s defense made it difficult for Calvin to get a game-winning shot.
“We controlled both overtimes, but it was tough to get near the goal,” said Broekhuizen.
While the Adrian game ended in a stalemate, Calvin dominated Wednesday’s home game against Kalamazoo. Senior forward Chris Nance, junior midfielder Zach Willis, sophomore midfielder Sean Broekhuizen and Joe Broekhuizen each scored in the 4-0 effort.
“Kalamazoo was a good game for us,” said Joe Broekhuizen. “We felt like we controlled it well the whole game and we were able to finish our chances when we got them.”
Calvin took charge of the shot department from the beginning, ultimately taking 19 shots to Kalamazoo’s four. Calvin took the lead in the 27th minute when Nance scored on a kick to the top of the goal. Calvin scored its other three goals in the second half.
Joe Broekhuizen, who scored on a header off of a midfield free kick in the 84th minute, saw the Kalamazoo game as practice for the MIAA tournament.
“[Kalamazoo] was a good preparation game because we will most likely face them this upcoming week in the conference tournament,” he explained.
The Kalamazoo game was also notable for the yellow cards Calvin received. The referees gave Calvin three yellow cards in total, including a card for the team as a whole in the 65th minute. Senior goalkeeper Jared Rushlau was also given a yellow card in the final minute, leading to a missed penalty kick by Kalamazoo.
First-year coach Ryan Souders disagreed with several of the fouls and cards on Calvin. “I am not always going to agree with the officials,” said Souders. “I thought some of his decisions and calls were quite off.”
Despite his disagreement, Coach Souders maintains a positive attitude toward the referees.
“I greatly respect the difficulty of the job our officials have,” Souders said. “I trust they do their best and call games the way they see them.”
With the Kalamazoo and Adrian games behind them, Vegter and his teammates are looking ahead to the future.
“[The Adrian] game is in the past now,” said Vegter. “[It’s now] time to worry about Alma and the conference tournament.”
The MIAA tournament begins at Calvin on Thursday afternoon.