Men’s Soccer Claims Share of Fifth Straight MIAA Regular Season Title
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
By sports information student assistant Andrew Knot
The Knights clinched the regular season conference title with a 4-0 win over Albion on Tuesday. The conference title is Calvin’s fifth consecutive crown, its seventh in the last 10 years and its league-leading 22nd overall. Calvin is the first school in MIAA men’s soccer history to capture five consecutive league titles. Calvin also clinches the top seed for the upcoming MIAA Tounament - scheduled for November 4 and 5. The Knights will have homefield advantage as long as they are alive in the tournament.
Calvin showed early signs of life offensively. In the first 20 minutes, junior Chris Nance set up senior Tyler Vegter with two chances in front of net, both of which Vegter narrowly missed over the cross bar.
Then, off the rebound of a block shot, junior Nick Holtrop put a left footed volley high and wide.
But in the game’s 33rd minute, senior Brad Heethuis was tripped up inside the box by Albion keeper Brian Greathouse. The foul earned a penalty kick for the Knights. Nance, the reigning MIAA offensive player of the week, scored his fourth goal in three games when he placed the penalty kick firmly into the bottom right of the net.
The Knights followed that up in the first half’s waning stages when sophomore Ben Honeycutt delivered a chip to senior Brad Wassink, whose sliding effort beat the charging Greathouse to give Calvin a 2-0 advantage before half.
Calvin continued to attack in the second half. With the ball on the left endline, freshman Dino Duratovic placed a cross on the head of sophomore Zach Willis, who directed his shot high to the near corner, putting the Knights up by three. Willis added another in the 53rd minute when, after working a give and go with Duratovic, he delivered a shot low and to the far post, to increase the margin to four.
“I think we’ve started to hit our stride,” said Coach Chris Hughes, who has now won seven conference titles in his 10 years as head coach. “Our defense came out strong and our offense figured out how to put the ball in the back of the net.”
With all 22 of the available players seeing time, Hughes called the game a complete team performance.
“For a coaching staff, it’s a great feeling to get everyone on the field. And it puts a smile on the players’ faces,” he added.
The victory improves Calvin’s record to 14-3-1 overall and 10-1-1 in conference. The Knights host Olivet on Saturday at 2:30.