Women’s Soccer Grabs Sole Possession of First Place in MIAA Standings With 1-0 Win at Adrian
Saturday, October 17, 2009
By Sports Information Student Assistant Andrew Knot
ADRIAN—With the outright conference lead on the line, and their conference winning streak broken, the Knights had a lot to prove in Saturday’s clash with the Adrian Bulldogs. Calvin and Adrian each entered the game with a 4-1 record in conference play; Calvin had just dropped a 2-1 result to Alma early in the week, their first conference loss in 40 games.
When all was said and done, Calvin came away with a 1-0 victory over the Bulldogs and with it, sole possession of first place in the MIAA standings.
“We knew we had to compete for 90 minutes. I told the team before the game, ‘Whoever wants this game the most will succeed,’” said Coach Mark Recker. The Knights did just that, grinding for the entire game and eventually blanking the Bulldogs via some late game heroics.
Before the game, Recker told junior Mindy Capisciolto that this was her game to make an impact on the soccer program; Capisciolto took that message to heart, impacting the game on both ends of the field.
Calvin began the game dominating possession, holding the ball in the Adrian half and pestering the Bulldog defense with shots and opportunities, but a quick counterattack from Adrian kept the Knights on their toes. Off of a Calvin corner, Lindsay Chitwood got free from the Calvin defense and received a through ball with only goalkeeper Kayla Sulzer to beat. Chitwood got clear of Sulzer and passed a ball towards what she thought was an empty net. Suddenly, Mindy Capisciolto, who was marking Chitwood in the first place, intercepted Chitwood’s shot and shattered Adrian’s hopes of an early goal.
“I knew it would have been my fault if they scored, so I was trying to get back as fast as I could,” said Capisciolto.
From that point on, Calvin continued to control possession, and ended the half with a 9-1 advantage in shots. However, on a cold, windy day, the Knights now had to compete with the Adrian attack and 20 mph gusts.
Adrian came out with some fire, fueled by the wind at their backs. After creating some chances for themselves early, the Knights stifled the Bulldog attack. But with each team anxiously looking to avoid a devastating mistake, the momentum remained neutral, the score remained deadlocked at zero, and the clock continued to count down. As time dwindled, likelihood of a single, game-changing goal increased.
In the 77th minute, that goal happened. Thanks to some hustle from freshman Liz Cancel, Calvin earned a throw-in in their own attacking third. Cancel played the throw-in to Stephanie Malburg, who delivered a low cross into the box. Capisciolto got on the receiving end of that cross and buried it into the bottom right corner of the net.
“Steph gave me a perfect ball; it would have been hard to miss that. I kept it low and got it past the goalie,” said Capisciolto.
With a single-goal lead, the Knights played keep-away for the remainder of the game, stifling any hopes of an equalizer for the Bulldogs. Calvin wrapped up a 1-0 victory and furthered their lead in the MIAA.
“The team won this game. Each element of the team came through today, said Coach Recker.
“Coming off of the loss to Alma, we were here to play. I’m glad we got the result we wanted. We knew this was a big game, and we want to be in the driver’s seat going into the final two weeks of the conference schedule,” concluded Capisciolto.
The Knights close the regular season with Trine and rival Hope before entering conference tournament play.
NOTES: Calvin is now 3-0 at Adrian’s Peformance Stadium, also winning 1-0 in 2006 and 2-0 in 2008….Saturday’s game featured a rematch of last year’s MIAA Tournament semifinals, won by Calvin 4-0…Calvin entered the match ranked sixth in the Central Region by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America while Adrian came in ranked 10th…the first official NCAA III Central Region poll is scheduled to be released next week…The 2009 MIAA season is featuring a new conference format. In past years, the final MIAA champion was based on a combination of placement points earned during the MIAA regular season and MIAA Tournament. This year, the final MIAA champion is determined solely on the finish of the MIAA regular season. The league’s automatic bid to the NCAA III Tournament however will go to the winner of the MIAA Tournament. In past years, the automatic bid was awarded to the final MIAA champion (combo of regular season and league tournament). In addition, the 2009 MIAA Tournament will feature only six teams with the top two teams in the regular season standings receiving first round byes, automatically advancing to the MIAA Tournament semifinals November 3. First round games will feature the #6 vs #3 seeds and #5 vs #4 seeds on October 31.