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Men’s Soccer Upended By Carnegie-Mellon

Friday, November 14, 2008

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By Bruce VanBaren

DELAWARE, OHIO- Calvin’s defense surrendered three goals for just the third time this season as the Knights fell to Carnegie Mellon 3-0 in Friday’s first round NCAA tournament game at Ohio Wesleyan’s Roy Rike Field.

Carnegie Mellon’s Ricky Griffin scored two second half goals as the Tartans out shot Calvin 23-12. Calvin was outshot 12-3 in the first half, but had several scoring opportunities in the second half.

“The score is not an indication of how close the game was by any means,” Carnegie Mellon coach Arron Lujan said. “I think it was a pretty evenly played game. The difference is we finished our chances and (Calvin) didn’t.”

The Knights were making their eighth trip to the NCAA tournament. Calvin bowed out of the NCAA tournament in the first round for the second straight year. Last year the Knights fell 1-0 to John Carroll, also at Ohio Wesleyan.

“The shot ratio was definitely to their advantage, but they really didn’t have a lot of great opportunities,” Knights coach Chris Hughes said. “But the ones they did have, boy, they sure took advantage of.”

Ryan Browne exploded on a through ball from Griffin and rifled a shot off the hand of Calvin goal keeper Darrin Cline. Browne’s 11th goal of the season broke the scoreless tie in the 59th minute. Carnegie Mellon took advantage of a brief Calvin let down and Griffin put a rebound into the back of the net to give the Tartans a two goal advantage just two minutes later.

“They’re an explosive team,” Michael Holwerda said. “I think we were recovering from the first goal and before you knew it we made another mistake and they capitalized. They counter attacked us twice and we never really recovered from those two goals.”

Griffin scored his second goal of the game to give Carnegie Mellon a 3-0 lead in the 83rd minute. Griffin dribbled fifteen yards through three Calvin defenders before firing a shot from the eighteen yardline.

“We came out a little slow in the beginning, but we liked where we were at the half,” Holwerda said. “We came out pretty strong in the second half and a couple opportunities slipped out of our fingers. We both had opportunities but they finished and we didn’t. That’s kind of how soccer goes.”

Cline made four saves while Tartan goal keeper Matthew Bazin made one save. Calvin nearly struck first after a strong start to the second half. Holwerda fired a cross into the penalty box just out of the reach of a streaking Luke Holtrop. Holwerda also hit the post on a free kick late in the second half.

“You can’t just score goals; you have to work for them,” Hughes said. “It’s not a point of them not working hard. The kids worked very hard, I’m proud of them. They’re just not going to back down. I’m proud of their accomplishments (this year).”

The Knights claimed their second straight MIAA championship this season. Greg Snapper was named MIAA Most Valuable Player for his efforts in anchoring Calvin’s league best defense. The Knights had a 14 game undefeated streak that included a twelve game winning streak during conference play.

Calvin caught Carnegie Mellon at a tough time. The Tartans upset the fourth ranked team in the nation, Emory, 4-2 in their regular season finale. Carnegie Mellon extends its winning streak to five games, two of which came against nationally ranked opponents.

“(The win over Emory) was a big mental statement for us and that helps going into the NCAA tournament,” Carnegie Mellon coach Arron Lujan said. “That was our first (come-back win) of the season too.”

Carnegie Mellon plays in the tough University Athletic Association which has three teams ranked in the final NSCAA national rankings along with Emory and Case Western Reserve which is ranked 16th. The Tartans finished third in the UAA.

Calvin loses five seniors: A.J. Dufendach, Dan Van Slyke, Anthony Gratson, Ben Buehrle and Darrin Cline. The Knights return all four defensive backs, forwards Michael Holwerda and Scott Hooker and a deep bench of young players.

“To our seniors that was a wonderful ride,” Hughes said. “I’m hoping my underclassmen can learn from this that this is what we need to do next season. (Looking toward next year) we have lots of positives; lots of the kids are coming back. We need to replace several key losses in our midline and our depth. Our depth did help a ton this season, I’m not sure it helped a whole lot in this game. We’ve got a bright future.”

Senior Losses
A.J. Dufendach is a native of Grand Rapids and a graduate of Forest Hills Northern High School. Dufendach recorded two assists this season and was named offensive player of the week once for his efforts in a tie against Hope a win over Olivet. Dufendach was named to the All-MIAA first team for the second straight year. This season he set the table for the Knights at the center midfield position. Dufendach is the only player under coach Chris Hughes to make four trips to the NCAA tournament.

Dan Van Slyke is a native of Grove City, Pennsylvania and a graduate of Grove City High School. Van Slyke scored a career high three goals this season and had an assist. Van Slyke is a two year starter and played the wing position for the Knights offense. A year ago at Hope, Van Slyke had a defensive “hat trick” saving three goals on the Calvin end line to preserve a 1-1 tie.

Darrin Cline is a native of Grandville and a graduate of Grandville High School. Cline was named to the All-MIAA first team this season and the All-MIAA second team a year ago. In conference play, Cline led the Knights to a league leading seven shut outs, a 0.50 goals against average and a .854 save percentage. Cline took over the starting position early in the season a year ago. He has led Calvin to two straight trips to the NCAA tournament. Over his stint as starter, Cline has contributed to 18 shut outs.

Anthony Gratson is a native of Rochester and a graduate of Rochester Stoney Creek. Gratson started at the right wing position in Friday’s NCAA tournament game. Over his three-year varsity career, Gratson has been valuable at the midfield position in setting up the Knights offense. Gratson had four assists a year ago and four assists as a sophomore. Gratson made two trips to the NCAA tournament.

Ben Buehrle is a native of Wyoming and a graduate of Tri-Unity Christian. Buehrle has played forward for Calvin for the past three years. Buerhle has had a knack for finding the net in big situations. He has registered several game-winning goals for the Knights. Buerhle scored one goal this season and had three goals a year ago. As a sophomore, Buerhle was fourth on the team in goals with four goals. He also had two assists that year.

Posted in: Men's Soccer
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