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Men’s Soccer Defeats Loras 4-0 in Regional Final - Headed to Round of 16 For Third Straight Year

Sunday, November 13, 2011

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Box Score

Photos Courtesy of Loras College Sports Information

DUBUQUE, IA - For the third year in a row and for the fourth time under current head coach Chris Hughes, the Calvin men’s soccer team is headed back to the Round of 16 of the NCAA III Tournament. The Knights punched their ticket to the next round with an emphatic 4-0 victory over 12th-ranked Loras College Saturday night at the Rock Bowl. Calvin will face an opponent from a regional hosted by Redlands College.

Calvin jumped on host Loras Saturday night with first half goals by freshmen Sean Broekhuizen (South Christian HS) and Travis Vegter (Unity Christian HS) to take a 2-0 halftime lead. Broekhuizen was able to give the Knights a 1-0 lead by heading in a free kick by sophomore Lawrence Murray (Forest Hills Eastern HS) in the 27th minute of play. In the 36th minute, Vegter got loose on a 2-on-1 breakaway with sophomore teammate Ben Honeycutt (South Christian HS) and drove a shot home to give the Knights a 2-0 lead.

The goal by Vegter came on a quick counterattack and came as the result of a pregame strategy according to head coach Chris Hughes.

“We knew that Loras was very quick on the offensive attack and our tactical goal was to absorb their pressure and then strike back with quick counters on offense. That 2-on-1 with Travis and Ben came on exactly that type of play.”

The fact that Calvin’s first two goals were scored by freshmen was also not lost on Hughes. “The coaching staff talked about that at halftime,” said Hughes. “It’s exciting to see a pair of freshmen step up like that in such a big game. It’s exciting for the future of our program and shows the type of depth that we’ve built with this team.”

In the second half, Calvin’s bend-but-not break defensive style continued to frustrate the host Duhawks andin the 76th minute, sophomore Zach Willis (Unity Christian HS) broke free on a pass from senior Brad Heethuis (Unity Christian HS) and whipped in his team-leading 12th goal of the year to put the Knights up 3-0.

Less than two minutes later, Willis picked up his 13th goal of the year off a rare assist from Calvin goalkeeper Michael Dolan (Marine City HS). The goal came off a Loras corner kick with Loras goalkeeper Nate DuBois moving into the Calvin box in an attempt to place an extra attacker in an attempt to score. Dolan was able to redirect the Loras corner kick over a scrum of players out onto the feet of Willis who broke free and launched a shot into a wide-open net to close out the scoring.

Loras (17-3-3) outshot Calvin 17-11 but Dolan had five saves to record his eighth shutout of the year.

After the game, Hughes praised his defensive backline of senior Justin Ahearne (Hudsonville HS), junior Dan Nederhoed (East Kentwood HS), Murray and Broekhuizen. “All four of our (defensive) backs really had to buckle down,” said Hughes. “They knew they couldn’t make mistakes and they performed wonderfully. They did a great job of working together on double-teams and we also blocked a lot of shots. That was huge.”

Calvin is now 12-9-4 all-time in NCAA III Tournament play including 4-2-4 over the last three years.

Calvin’s next opponent and site of competition will likely not be determined until late Sunday night.

Posted in: Men's Soccer
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