Women’s Soccer Clinches Share of MIAA Regular Season Title With 2-0 Win Over Hope
Saturday, October 27, 2012
By Mark DeHaan
Looking to bounce back after a loss at Kalamazoo on Thursday, the Knights women’s soccer team played strong on their way to a 2-0 victory over rival Hope on Senior Day. With the 2-0 victory, the Knights clinched a share of the MIAA title and a record sixth MIAA regular season title for Calvin sports teams this fall. The Knights also clinch a spot in next week’s four-team MIAA Tournament although the top seed for the league tournament is still up for grabs.
The game was played very close from the opening kick. Neither team had a strong opportunity on net until about the 30th minute, when a deflection off the foot of a Calvin defender kept the game scoreless.
A long ball was sent through the Calvin defense to the top of the Knights box. Calvin junior goalie Ashton Hearn, a Knights defender, and a Hope attacker all converged on the ball at once. A scrum ensued, and the ball then bounced out to Hope forward Lindsey Bieri who was standing about 25 yard away from net. Bieri sent the ball toward frame, but a deflection off a Calvin defender pushed the ball wide, keeping the game tied at 0-0.
Calvin broke the scoreless tie in the 42nd minute. A cross from senior Francesca Smith into the Hope box bounced around then found the foot of freshman Abby Ploeg. Ploeg then put a driving ball on net that deflected off a Flying Dutch defender and into the back of the goal for a 1-0 Calvin lead.
The Knights took this 1-0 lead into halftime despite a 2-6 shots disadvantage and a Hope 5-2 advantage on corner kicks.
In second half play, Calvin extended its lead with a nifty give-and-go between freshman Taylor TenHarmsel and junior Kelly Koets. The give from Koets found TenHarmsel at the top of the Hope box, who sent Koets into space with a pass that split two Flying Dutch defenders. All alone in the box, Koets put a shot into the far netting past the charging Hope keeper to push Calvin’s lead to 2-0.
Strong defense in the second half from the Calvin freshman back line saw the Flying Dutch only tally three shots total and a single shot on net. This stifling defense allowed Calvin to close out the 2-0 victory.
Ashton Hearn earned the clean sheet in net for the Knights, making three saves in net. Calvin built an 11-9 shots advantage in the game, 9-3 in the second half.
“We were disheartened by the outcome (Thursday) at Kalamazoo,” said Calvin women’s soccer coach Mark Recker. “I think we put more pressure on ourselves coming into this game than we wanted to, but maybe it was the pressure that really paid dividends for us. When your team commits to a specific strategy for the game, executes that strategy, gets a lead and then closes out the lead, you can’t ask them for much more. It really is a team effort in what has been accomplished, because this team has worked so hard to be the team that they are with such youth on the field.”
The win elevates Calvin to 11-3-1 in the MIAA and 12-4-1 overall. Hope drops to 9-4-2 in conference and 12-5-2 overall. Calvin’s final regular season game is Wednesday when its travels to Adrian to face the Bulldogs with the first kick slated for 4 p.m. The match will be a showdown for the MIAA title as Adrian is just three points behind Calvin in the league standings and could gain a share of the league title and gain the top seed for the league tournament with a win over the Knights.