Men’s Soccer Clinches Share of MIAA Regular Season Title and Top Seed for MIAA Tournament
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
The Calvin men’s soccer team captured a share of an unprecedented sixth consecutive MIAA title on Wednesday while also clinching the top seed for next week’s MIAA Tournament. Calvin clinched a share of the league title with a 4-0 win over Kalamazoo while Adrian gained a 2-1 win over Olivet. With two regular season games left on the schedule for all eight MIAA teams, Calvin holds a six-point lead over Olivet. The Knights hold a potential tiebreaker edge over Olivet for the top seed for the MIAA Tournament by virtue of a regular season sweep over Hope. The MIAA regular season title is the 23rd for Calvin – more than any other MIAA school in men’s soccer.
In its victory over Kalamazoo on Wednesday, Calvin celebrated Senior Day in fine fashion. Honoring seniors Jared Rushlau, Joe Broekhuizen, Nick Holtrop, Chris Nance, Trevor Bushhouse, and Dan Nederhoed for their extremely successful years as Knights, Calvin earned the win 4-0 against Kalamazoo.
The Knights almost went up early on a head ball from junior Zach Willis. Off a volley by Joe Broekhuizen, Willis put his head on the ball and it went just over the crossbar.
In the 27th minute, senior Chris Nance gave the Knights their first goal of the match on a fantastic shot from 25 yards out. On a pass from junior Ben Honeycutt, Nance put a shot on net that dipped over Hornets keeper Dane Macdonell, off the crossbar and into the net.
Calvin played strong defense during the first half, allowing no Kalamazoo shots throughout its entirety.
The Knights padded their lead in the 52nd minute as Joe Broekhuizen found Willis in the box. Willis, touching the ball past a few defenders, slipped the left-footed shot underneath the arms of the charging Kalamazoo keeper to push Calvin’s advantage to 2-0.
A pair of Calvin headers then put the game out of reach for the Hornets, both off deep Calvin free kicks. The first came off the foot of Holtrop in the 67th minute, who put the ball right into the middle of the box. Not even looking at net, sophomore Sean Broekhuizen flicked the ball toward net with his head, putting the ball top shelf to give Calvin a 3-0 lead.
The second came from the head of Joe Broekhuizen who rounded out the scoring in the 84rd minute. On a free kick from younger brother, Sean, Joe made a great run into the box and, utilizing his height, put his head on the ball and placed it into the bottom right corner of the net.
Kalamazoo’s best chance of the match came in the final minute when a foul was called on Jared Rushlau in the box. The Hornets were awarded a penalty kick. But, on the ensuing kick, Rushlau made a fantastic save, diving to his right and keeping the ball out of the net to save the clean sheet.
Calvin finished the game with a 19-4 shots advantage, forcing Macdonell into five saves while scoring four goals. Rushlau made two saves on his way to a clean sheet on senior day.
“There is no doubt the work our seniors have had in this program. Their record speaks for itself, and even this year, they’ve been incredibly gracious to me and a new staff coming in,” said head coach Ryan Souders. “To see them play well, to see us play well under their leadership, and to see a couple of them get on the score sheet is pretty exciting.”
Calvin is now 13-3-1 on the year, 11-1 in the MIAA. Kalamazoo drops to 9-6 overall and 7-5 in conference play. The Knights now look forward to Saturday when they will travel to Adrian to face the Bulldogs. Opening kick at Adrian’s Performance Stadium is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.