Calvin Men’s Soccer Team Final Four Bound!! Wins Shootout 4-3 Over Transylvania After 1-1 OT Tie
Saturday, November 21, 2009
PITTSBURGH, PA - For the first time in school history, the Calvin men’s soccer team is headed to the NCAA III Final Four. The Knights advanced to the national semifinal with a 4-3 shootout victory over Transylvania (KY) Saturday night on the campus of Carnegie-Mellon University. The game finished in a 1-1 double-overtime tie with Transylvania scoring a late second half goal to tie the game at one.
In the shootout, Calvin junior goalkeeper Ryan Bratt came up with three clutch saves with freshman Chris Nance scoring the clinching goal in the shootout. Chris Nance is a graduate of Warren DeLaSalle High School in suburban Detroit.
The shootout win is Calvin’s second of the NCAA III Tournament. The Knights also edged Wartburg 3-2 in a shootout last Saturday night in a second round NCAA III Tournament game.
Calvin (17-4-3) will be making its first-ever trip to the NCAA III Final Four in men’s soccer. The Final Four is scheduled to be held in San Antonio, Texas, December 4 & 5. Calvin will be the second MIAA school to advance to the Final Four in men’s soccer with Alma also doing so in 1999.
Calvin took an early lead against Transylvania (16-3-3) on a goal by senior Alex McKenzie (Lindenhurst, IL/Antioch HS) in the eighth minute of play but Transylvania tied the game on a breakaway goal by Pierre Manga with just 17:56 left in regulation.
The McKenzie goal – his ninth of the season and second of the NCAA III Tournament – was set up by a long pass from the left with freshman Dan Nederhoed (East Kentwood HS) and junior Kyle Billin (Unity Christian HS) drawing assists on the play.
Calvin held a 7-5 shots at goal advantage in the first half and then outshot the Pioneers 14-3 in the second half but Transylvania was able to tie the score on a quick counterattack by Manga.
Calvin nearly retook the lead in the 82nd minute on a header by senior Luke Holtrop (Unity Christian HS) that beat the keeper but was saved off the backline by a Transylvania defender.
Calvin nearly won the game in the first overtime when junior Tyler Vegter (Unity Christian HS) took a chip in the Transylvania box and headed a shot to the top shelf of the goal that was deflected over the crossbar with a leaping stab by Transylvania goalkeeper Trey Kramer.
In the shootout, Transylvania scored on its first attempt but Calvin junior Scott Hooker (Unity Christian HS) followed with a shootout goal to tie the score. Bratt then stepped up and made the first of three saves in the shootout. Calvin missed on its second attempt and Transylvania quickly followed with a goal that was answered by a goal by Luke Holtrop to tie the score 2-2.
Bratt then came up with save number two and Calvin freshman Joe Broekhuizen (South Christian HS) followed with a shootout goal to put the Knights up 3-2. Transylvania knotted the score at 3-3 with a goal and a subsequent save by Kramer but Bratt came up huge again, stuffing Transylvania’s sixth attempt, setting up the game-winning shootout goal by Nance.
“Ryan Bratt made the saves he was capable of making,” said Calvin coach Chris Hughes. “We all have full faith in him and he came up with the big plays.”
As for freshmen Joe Broekhuizen and Chris Nance converting in the shootout, Hughes was also assertive. “I have full faith in my freshmen. Chris Nance has not missed a penalty in training and Joe Broekhuizen is the same.”
Calvin finished the game with a 26-9 shots at goal advantage. Bratt had five saves for Calvin while Kramer had 12 saves for Transylvania.
Despite holding a large shots at goal advantage, Calvin was challenged by the physical Pioneers according to Hughes. “Transylvania is a very strong physical team and we knew that to counter that, we had to play our game which I thought we did,” said Hughes. “They have a wonderful goalkeeper who made some big saves and as I mentioned last night, they are very dangerous on the counterattack and got one in the second half. I am just so proud of my players though, every last one of them. Everyone contributed to this victory tonight.”
As for making its first appearance in the Final Four, Hughes is excited. “The best part about it is that we get to practice and be around each other for two more weeks,” said Hughes, a 1992 Calvin graduate and a former All-MIAA defensive player for the Knights. “I’m just thrilled for my players, the program and for all our soccer alumni.”
(Photos Courtesy of Carnegie-Mellon Sports Information)