Men’s Soccer Blanks Olivet 3-0 in MIAA Tournament Final
Saturday, November 03, 2012
By Mark DeHaan
After losing to Olivet 6-5 in its first MIAA matchup of the year, Calvin men’s soccer went 14 games without losing to another MIAA foe. That streak continued in the MIAA Tournament Final Saturday afternoon as the Knights defeated Olivet 3-0 at Calvin’s Zuidema Field. The win gives Calvin the MIAA’s automatic bid for the NCAA Tournament.
Calvin opened up the scoring in the 39th minute on a senior connection between Nick Holtrop and Joe Broekhuizen. Taking a free kick just inside Olivet’s half, Holtrop put a perfectly placed ball just inside the Comet’s box, finding the head of Broekhuizen. Broekhuizen’s header then beat Olivet keeper Alex Lang top shelf, giving Calvin the 1-0 lead.
The Knights took the 1-0 advantage to intermission, outshooting the Comets just 4-3.
Calvin’s pressure stepped up a notch in the second half. Looking to equalize, Olivet was forced to push another man forward. This allowed the Knights more space up top and better possession in the midfield.
That possession and space paid off in the 74th minute as junior Zach Willis made a great run down the left sideline. Willis, beating the Olivet defender, made a pass into the middle of the box. Crashing the net was freshman Taylor Pruis. Beating Lang to the ball, Pruis slipped the ball into the bottom left corner of the net to push Calvin’s lead to 2-0.
Minutes later, the Knights added a third goal, this on a shot from sophomore Travis Vegter. Joe Broekhuizen played a through ball to Vegter at the top of the box. Vegter then put a perfect left-footed shot into the bottom right corner of the net to give the Knights a 3-0 lead and all but secure a Calvin victory.
Strong play from the Calvin backline over the remaining 13 minutes did just that, shutting down Olivet’s offense and giving Calvin an emphatic 3-0 victory. Senior Jared Rushlau made three saves in net for the Knights on his way to a clean sheet.
It’s a good day, and as you would imagine, our seniors did a great job in leading us, said head coach Ryan Souders, winning the MIAA Championship in his first season as the men’s soccer head coach. The second half, our guys came out committed to what we’ve tried to do all year. It was good to see us do that, create a wealth of chances, put some of them away and move on to where we’ve wanted to be all year, which is (in a position) to return to San Antonio.
It’s always a tough battle when we play Olivet, said Joe Broekhuizen, who recorded a goal and an assist on the day. I think our defense stepped up big, with the shutout. We put a couple in during the second half and took a little pressure off just an overall good win for us.
The tournament championship victory gives Calvin the MIAA automatic qualifying bid. Calvin’s opponent next weekend, as well as where its first round match will be played, will be determined on Monday at 1 p.m. when the selection show for the Division III men’s soccer bracket will take place.