Men’s Soccer Clinches Share of MIAA Title - Wraps Up NCAA III Tourney Berth With Tie at Hope
Saturday, November 01, 2008
By Bruce VanBaren
HOLLAND , MI—Saturday’s 1-1 tie at Hope’s Buys Athletic Field clinched Calvin’s second straight automatic NCAA tournament berth and a share of the Knights’ second straight MIAA championship. The tie was a bit bittersweet for Calvin as Hope tied the game on a goal with less than a minute left in regulation.
With the clock ticking under a minute and Calvin confidently holding on to a 1-0 lead, Hope’s Ausable Schwiebert launched a free kick over a scrum of players and into the net to tie the game 1-1 with just 45 seconds remaining.
“It’s disappointing,” goal keeper Darrin Cline said. “Anytime you play 90 minutes and you have the game all but wrapped up and at the last second it’s snatched away from you, it’s not a good feeling.”
Cline nearly punched the ball out of the box, but a scrum of eight to ten players forced him to lunge at the ball and it scraped off his fist and into the goal.
A discrepancy with the clock stopped play with under a minute left. The officials took an additional ten seconds off the clock, but the stoppage in play allowed the Flying Dutchmen to bring everyone into the box, including goal keeper Logan Neil on the game-tying goal.
Despite the tie, Calvin clinches a share of the final league crown as the Knights maintain a six-point lead (two games) over Hope with each team holding two conference games left on the schedule. Calvin gains the MIAA’s automatic bid to the NCAA III Tournament however as the Knights are 1-0-1 against Hope this year and hold the direct head-to-head tiebreaker edge for the bid.
The league title is Calvin’s MIAA-leading 19th overall including its third in the last five years. Calvin will be making its eighth appearance in the NCAA III Tournament including its second straight.
Saturday’s tie also marked the third consecutive year that Calvin and Hope have battled to a tie on the second meeting of the year between the two teams.
Hope remains undefeated at home (7-0-1) this year. Calvin extends its conference undefeated streak to 25 games, but the tie ends its 12 game winning streak.
“It doesn’t ruin the day, we got a point out of it,” Calvin coach Chris Hughes said. “Obviously it’s a little frustrating, but you get a point and you move on. I told them we’re going to Russ’ (restaurant) if we win and we’re still going to Russ’ even with the tie, we’re not going anywhere else.”
Hope carried the momentum of the last second goal into the overtime periods, but was unable to capitalize on a 3-0 shots on goal advantage in the extra periods.
“Hope needed to put pressure on, they needed a win,” Hughes said. “But our boys continued to finish off the rest of the game. They need to be proud of what they’ve done.”
Calvin was going for its first series sweep under Hughes. No team has swept the two-game season series since Hope did it in 1998. Calvin beat Hope 1-0 earlier this year at Zuidema Field.
“It shows you the strength of both programs,” Hughes said. “I wouldn’t want it any other way. This is where the kids learn. That was a tournament time game right there. Both teams wanted it and both found the back of the net. I’ll take that point coming out of a big (away) game like that.”
Cline and the Knights advance to the NCAA for the second straight year.
“I think it’s huge,” Cline said. “The team makeup is so different this year. We have so much depth this year. That’s our biggest advantage. Our depth gives us that much more energy at the end (of a game).”
Calvin will travel to Adrian to play under the lights on Wednesday at 6 p.m. The Knights will close out their regular season at home on Saturday when they host Trine at 2 p.m.