Women’s Soccer Opens Season With 4-0 Shutout at Aquinas
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
(written by Calvin Sports Information Student Assistant Derek Neice)
GRAND RAPIDS—The Knights of Calvin started the season off with a bang Tuesday afternoon in their opening match, putting the home team and cross-town rival Aquinas away with a comfortable 4-0 victory. Senior Natalie Veurink (Spring Lake, MI) had a hat-trick all in the first half of play to put Calvin in the lead, and Sophomore Kelsey McCallops (Hudson, OH) added in another goal to cement the victory in the second half.
Coming off of a successful season last year that carried the team to a MIAA Championship and a bid in the national tournament, returning players performed exactly how their experience in this league would indicate. Coach Mark Recker had much to say about how well he thinks his team can perform this season.
“With those who return to lead the team this season, the nucleus is strong, and with the work they put in, the finished product should perform very well. And with the addition of various freshmen, it is an interesting proposition of integrating numbers and seeing what works.”
Veurink scored her three goals in about a seven minute span of time, the best of which came on her third shot and goal when Veurink chipped in a twenty yard shot over the goalie off of a nice pass from freshman teammate Liz Cancel (Fraser, MI). Coach Recker was pleased with the performance of his senior striker.
“She has grown a lot every year that she’s been on the team, always hungry to be the go-to player. She has definitely worked to be that player.”
The hat-trick was the first of Veurink’s collegiate career and boosted her career goal total to 24, moving her into 13th place on the Calvin career list for goals.
Senior midfielder Emily Ottenhoff (Palos Heights, IL) and freshman midfielder Francesca Smith (Bloomington, IN) assisted Veurink on the first two goals, and Calvin led the game 3-0 at the break, out shooting the Saints 6-2 for the first half. Senior goalkeeper Kayla Sulzer (St. Charles, MO) kept a clean slate with saves on both of the Aquinas shots.
Kelsey McCallops added an insurance goal twenty minutes into the second half from the sharp passing of freshmen Jillian Honderd (Hudsonville, MI) and Francesca Smith. With seven freshmen (making up a third of the team) ready to contribute, Coach Recker was especially pleased with the play of the newest members on his team, especially that of Francesca Smith, who finished with two assists.
“Coming in and playing as a freshman brings a blend of uncertainty in learning new positions and roles, sometimes with the tendency to be tentative rather than aggressive. But these girls are definitely pushing themselves. Francesca is showing great capacity so far in the midfield.”
Calvin out shot the Saints in the game 12-8, and along with superb play from the defensive back line, Kayla Sulzer preserved the shutout for the Knights. Along with Veurink’s three shots, junior Carly Prins (Hudsonville, MI) had four shots, while Emily Ottenhoff, Kellie Honderd, Liz Cancel, and freshman Sarah Bowden (Uxbridge, MA) finished with one apiece.
Calvin improved to 1-0 on the year with the win and will be traveling to Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio, for a tournament on the 4th and 5th before hosting Madonna College on September 9th in the Knight’s home opener.
NOTES:…Calvin will open the Ohio Northern Tournament on Friday against seventh-ranked Otterbein…Calvin is currently ranked 17th nationally…Friday’s game is scheduled to begin at 1:00 p.m. …Calvin will then face host Ohio Northern on Saturday at 4:00 p.m…..Wednesday’s shutout was the second shutout of Sulzer’s career in goal.