Top-Ranked Men’s Soccer Team Suffers First Loss in 2-1 Defeat at Hope
Saturday, September 25, 2010
(story written by sports information student assistant Derek Neice)
HOLLAND - A year after losing in heartbreaking fashion to Hope in double overtime, top ranked Calvin came back to Holland Saturday night and suffered similar agony as the Knights fell to their rivals 2-1, Calvin’s first loss of the season.
Coming in undefeated and ranked #1 in the nation, Calvin was not able to control the game to its own pace, and Hope took advantage.
“It was a great battle by both teams,” Coach Hughes commented afterward. “If we learn one thing, it’s that we need to have two good halves in this type of environment.”
In the first half the two rivals both showed similar signs of nerves while also having some strong opportunities on goal. Hope took the lead in the 21st minute off a goal from sophomore Jeffrey Ekdom (Holland, MI) as a result of a multitude of chances for the Dutchmen. Hope looped three straight crosses into the box before Ekdom connected on a nice header into the far side of the net.
Calvin certainly looked a bit unsure of itself after that as the Knights struggled to maintain possession, something they have done so well through seven games this season. Hope on the other hand settled in and set the pace of the game with some quick counterattack chances and strong defensive play.
“We didn’t play Calvin ball a majority of that first half,” Hughes said. “The second half was more what we do and we had some good opportunities and you just continue to build from there.”
Hope would maintain the lead going into the break, as well as an 11-9 shot advantage over Calvin. Senior keeper Ryan Bratt (Silver Spring, MD) amassed four saves to keep the deficit at only one.
The second half featured a significant shift in the favor of the Knights as they clearly reverted to their normal form, controlling possession and creating a number of opportunities through the air and on the ground.
That shift paid off in the 52nd minute when junior Tyler Vegter (Hudsonville, MI) poked the ball away from a Hope defender and broke away for a one on one chance with the Dutchmen keeper Logan Neil (Holland, MI). Vegter cut right and then hooked a perfect shot along the ground just inside the far post for an equalizing goal.
Calvin stayed strong thereafter, but Hope was able to capitalize when it counted. In the 73rd minute the Dutchmen strung together a number of one touch passes to set up the go ahead goal by freshman Brayden West (West Olive, MI).
Calvin went into desperation mode to try and tie things up once again, with the best chance coming in the final minutes when senior Dan Kmetz (Strongsville, OH) lofted a perfect ball into the box where a cutting Brad Heethuis (Jenison, MI) looked to bring it down. Heethuis wasn’t able to control it well enough to get a shot off though and danger was averted for Hope.
The Knights finished just behind Hope statistically, losing a 19-18 shot battle. The loss marks Calvin’s first of the season, dropping the Knights’ record to 7-1 and 1-1 in the MIAA. The next match for the Knights will come Tuesday when they take on Kalamazoo.
“We have twelve MIAA games left and Hope again at home,” Hughes said looking forward to future games. “We’ve got Kalamazoo on Tuesday and that’s all I’m focused on now.”
That game is set to kick off at 4 p.m.