Calvin Men’s Soccer Team Headed To National Title Game After 1-0 Win Over Dominican in Semifinals
Saturday, December 05, 2009
SAN ANTONIO, TX - The Calvin menís soccer team is headed to the NCAA III Championship final on Saturday, December 5.
The Knights (18-4-3) will face defending national champion Messiah (PA) at 6 pm (EST) in the title game.
Calvin advanced with a 1-0 victory over Dominican University Friday night in a national semifinal game. Messiah (23-1-0) advanced with a 2-1 win over Williams (MA). The only goal of the game in Calvinís victory over
Dominican came off the right foot of junior Brad Heethuis (Jenison/Unity Christian HS) who banged in his seventh goal of the year including his fifth game-winner.
The goal came with just over 12:15 left in regulation and took place after senior Alex McKenzie (Lindenhurst, IL/Antioch HS) was able to collect a ball out of the air and send it over to Heethuis who collected the ball with a chest trap. Moving through a scrum of players, Heethuis got his right foot on the bouncing ball and whacked it past Dominican goalkeeper Maxwell Gutbrod just inside the far post.
“Alex played a nice ball to me and I just chested it down and took it off the hop,” said Heethuis. “I wanted to hit it across goal and I just happened to hit it well.”
The Heethuis goal culminated a second half that Calvin dominated after an even first half that saw both teams squeeze off four shots at goal. Calvin created an early scoring chance on a rush up the left wing by junior Dan Kmetz who fired a shot to the near post that was savedby Gutbrod.
In the 28th minute, Dominican (19-2-3) nearly drew first blood on a shot in the box by Lio Tovar that appeared headed for the back of the net just inside the near post. Calvin junior goalkeeper Ryan Bratt (Silver Spring, MD) was up to the task however, stretching out his 6-7 frame to deflect the ball just wide of the post.
10 minutes later, Calvin freshman Joe Broekhuizen (Grand Rapids South Christian HS) nearly found the back of the net, unleashing a blast from the left wing that beat Gutbrod but just missed tucking inside the far post.
In the second half, Calvin dominated possession, outshooting Dominican 6-3.
“I think the first 15-20 minutes of the game both teams were a little nervous, trying to figure each other out,” said Calvin men’s soccer coach Chris Hughes. “We’re a possession style team and it took us awhile to figure out how to do that against Dominican. Dominican is a great team with great players. It takes 90 minutes to figure things out against a team like that. After awhile we found a rhythmn and then we finally found the back of the net. It was exciting.”
Calvin finished the game with a 10-7 shots at goal advantage with Bratt picking up the one crucial save for the Knights while Gutbrod had three saves for Dominican.
Calvin will now turn its attention to Saturday’s title game against a Messiah team that has won six of the last eight national titles and leads the nation in scoring with an average of nearly four goals a game.
“They’ve got a tradition of great soccer,” said Hughes of Messiah. “They’ve got a great coaching staff and we have a lot of respect for them. I think both teams will have to figure each other out for 90 minutes and we’re excited for the opportunity.”