Men’s Soccer Defeats Oneonta State 4-2 in NCAA III Semifinals
Sunday, December 04, 2011
(Photo by Bill Sanderson)
By Calvin Sports Information Student Assistant Andrew Knot
Newtonian physics assign each action an equal and opposite reaction. The sport of boxing is dictated not by punches, but their counters. It’s how you respond. For Calvin, the final eighty three minutes of Friday’s semi-final were an emphatic response.
In the seventh minute, junior midfielder Jeff Christian drove a one-timed shot into the upper corner and the Knights faced an early deficit. Suddenly, Oneonta State, in its very first tournament appearanceŚlet alone the Final Four, had delivered the first punch. It was up to Calvin to respond.
“Coach is always talking about the next five minutes,” said senior Brad Heethuis. The Knights’ respond didn’t even take five minutes. In the tenth minute, freshman Sean Broekhuizen found some space on the right baseline and rifled a cross to Heethuis, who redirected the equalizing goal past Oneonta State keeper Max Siegelman.
Heethuis, who seems to find the net whenever the Knights need it the most, is reluctant to accept his coach’s “Mr. November/December” nickname, says it isn’t hard to find motivation this late in the tournament, especially given his prior experience.
“Being here two years ago and getting so close adds an extra fuel,” he said.
All square at 1-1, possession began to ebb Calvin’s way. Calvin alternated points of attack, from sophomore Zach Willis on the left wing to junior Chris Nance, his right wing counterpart. Still, the score remained knotted.
“At this point, you gotta find the back of the net,” said Hughes.
Calvin soon did just that. In the 28th minute, junior Dan Nederhoed delivered a cross to the far post, where freshman Travis Vegter, just minutes into the game and without a touch, headed a ball into the back of the net, putting the Knights on top for the first time in the match. Vegter’s goal marked his fourth of the tournament.
“Not only are our seniors taking it to the next level, our freshman are contributing,” said Hughes.
But the scoring didn’t stop there, Calvin continued a dynamic offensive showing with a goal in the 34th minute. Brad Wassink, the tournament Elite 89 award recipient, volleyed a touch past Siegelman’s outstretched arms and the Knights were en route to a 3-1 halftime lead.
The Red Dragons responded with renewed energy in the second half, but still it was Calvin who drew first blood. Oneonta’s State’s second-half efforts resulted in a 11-5 advantage in the second half shots column, but it was Vegter’s 76th minute strike that effectively sealed the game for Calvin. With the ball at his feet in the center of the field, Vegter made a man miss and put the ball on his right foot. From there, he buried a shot from 25 yards out in the top shelf.
With less than five minutes to play, Oneonta State’s Daniel Josepher cut the lead to 4-2 with a well-executed set piece. But, trailing by an early goal, it was Calvin’s four goal response that propelled the Knights to victory.
Our boys have shown through this tournament that they’re quite resilient,” said Hughes. That resiliency booked a spot in tomorrow’s final against Ohio Wesleyan. The Knights square off in the National Championship at 5:30 CST.
The meeting will be the sixth between Calvin and Ohio Wesleyan in NCAA III Tournament play. Ohio Wesleyan has won three of the five prior matchups. Calvin won the last meeting - a 2-1 win in the second round of the 2005 NCAA III Tournament in Delaware, Ohio. Both teams were prior members of the Great Lakes Region. Calvin is now a member of the Central Region. The two teams last played in an early September regular season contest on September 5, 2009, with Ohio Wesleyan winning 1-0 in Delaware, Ohio, on a penalty kick in the 86th minute of play.