2010 Calvin Women’s Soccer Preview
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Only one team in MIAA history has claimed six consecutive league titles in women’s soccer. Calvin is hoping to become the second. Calvin women’s soccer coach Mark Recker realized that reaching that goal will not be easy however.
“Our league continues to add quality and balance,” said Recker. “There are several teams that are capable of making a run at the league title. We’ve seen that first hand over the past few years. Our goal is always to win the league title but we realize that everyone else in our league has the same goal.”
Calvin’s current streak of five league titles began with a co-championship with Hope in 2005. The Knights have since won four consecutive outright regular season crowns. Only the six-year run by Kalamazoo from 1989-to-1994 is better.
Calvin captured the 2009 MIAA regular season title by finishing one win ahead of runner-up Adrian and just two games of Alma and Kalamazoo. In the semifinals of the MIAA Tournament, Calvin tied Kalamazoo 0-0 but did not advance, falling in a penalty kick shootout to the Hornets. Kalamazoo then fell in the MIAA Tournament finals to Albion in yet another shootout.
“There is no one in the league that you can take for granted,” said Recker. “The conference (regular) season is only eight games and that requires concentration and effort against each league opponent.”
Calvin will lean on the experience of five seniors in forwards Carly Prins (Hudsonville/Unity Christian HS) and Stephanie Malburg (Grand Rapids/Forest Hills Northern HS), midfielder Elaine Schnabel (Chesterton, IN/Chesterton HS) and defensive backs Lauren Heyboer (Kalamazoo/Kalamazoo Christian HS) and Kellie Honderd (Hudsonville/Unity Christian HS).
A three-time first team All-MIAA selection and a first team All-Central Region choice in 2009, Prins led Calvin in scoring last year with 24 points on the strength of nine goals and six assists. Four of her goals came during Calvin’s four-game run to the NCAA III Quarterfinals. Heading into her senior campaign, she has career totals of 27 goals, 14 assists and 68 points. Nine of her career goals have been game-winners. Prins is also a two-time member of the MIAA Academic Honor Roll.
Malburg has been a strong reserve for the Knights during her career, tallying three goals and four assists. She assisted on the game-winning goal in a late-season victory at Adrian last fall that clinched a share of the MIAA regualr season crown for the Knights.
A three-time member of the MIAA Academic Honor Roll and a 2009 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District choice, Schabel has been a sparkplug as a midfielder for Calvin. Despite battling through a late-season injury last year, she managed to record seven goals and two assists. One of her goals came in a 2-1 upset victory over Augustana in the NCAA III Tournament that proved to be the game-winner.
Heyboer appeared and started in 22 games in 2009 as a central defender. She also displayed an offensive touch with a team-leading eight assists. Heyboer was also a member of the 2009-10 MIAA Academic Honor Roll. A member of the 2009 All-MIAA second team,
Honderd has played primarily on defense during her career but has also been used in an attacking role, collecting seven goals and five assists during her career. She has also received MIAA Academic Honor Roll accolades once during her career.
Calvin’s junior class includes Kim Schmitikons (Baldwinsville, NY/Faith Heritage) and Kara Zondervan (Lakewood, CA/Valley Christian HS). Both individuals scored a goal in 2009. Schmitikons was a member of the 2009-10 MIAA Academic Honor Roll.
Returning letterwinners in the sophomore class include midfielder Taylor Libolt (Chino, CA/Ontario Christian HS) and midfielders, Francesca Smith (Bloomington, IN/Bloomington South HS), Jillian Honderd (Hudsonville/Unity Christian HS) and Sarah Bowden (Uxbridge, MA/Whitinsville Christian HS).
Smith was a full-time starter in midfield as a freshman, collecting three goals and five assists. Bowden saw time in the starting lineup in 2009. Honderd had five goals and two assists including both goals in a 2-0 victory over rival Hope in late October. Bowden was a threat for the Knights both on defense and in the midfield. Libolt appeared in just two games before suffering a season-ending injury.
The Knights will also welcome in a large freshman class with several individuals expected to challenge for value added participation. A starting goalkeeper will come from Calvin’s incoming class of first-year players.
In order to prepare for its league campaign, Calvin has loaded up with a beefy non-conference schedule that includes four teams that were ranked in the final Top 25 National Soccer Coaches Association Division III poll. The Knights will face (#2) Washington University of St. Louis on September 3, (#12) Wheaton (IL) on September 11, (#22) Chicago on September 15 and (#9) Augustana on September 18. In addition, Calvin will face challenges from regional Division III powers in UW-Eau Claire (September 4), DePauw (September 10) and Ohio Wesleyan (September 25). The Knights will also face instate NAIA foes Aquinas (September 1) and Madonna (September 8).
Calvin’s conference schedule begins on September 29 when it hosts Saint Mary’s (IN). The MIAA Tournament is scheduled to begin on October 30 and will conclude with the MIAA Tournament Championship game on November 6. The winner of the MIAA Tournament will receive the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA III Tournament.
Calvin will also be seeking to build on its team academic success from a year ago when the Knights received the MIAA’s Team GPA Award for posting a cumulative team grade point average of 3.30 or above. The Team GPA Award marked the fourth time that the Knights earned the award in women’s soccer.