Women’s Soccer Shuts Out W & J 4-0 To Advance to Second Round of NCAA III Tournament
Friday, November 13, 2009
(written by Calvin sports information student assistant Derek Neice)
GRAND RAPIS—You can never say never.
After what was thought to be a done season for the Knights, Calvin was given a second chance with an at-large bid to the big dance where it was matched up at home against the Washington and Jefferson Presidents Friday afternoon. Calvin knew it could not take that opportunity for granted in this-win-or-go-home tournament, and they came out with fire against the Presidents of Washington and Jefferson, defeating them by a score of 4-0.
The match-up between Calvin and Washington Jefferson was the first ever meeting between the schools, and they got to do battle Friday on a beautiful West Michigan fall day here on Calvin’s campus.
The game started fairly back and forth with both teams looking to find some weak spots in the opposing lineups. Calvin was the first to find that weak spot as junior Carly Prins scored in the 7th minute of play off of a corner kick from teammate Lauren Heyboer. Prins, who was named a 1st team All-MIAA member earlier this week, got her head to the ball first, sending it straight into the back of the net, giving Calvin the 1-0 lead.
“I’m not sure there are very many players in the MIAA or in Division III that could potentially dominate in the air with the skills and abilities she has,” Coach Mark Recker said of his star forward. “So she is definitely a very important ingredient, but she would be the first to tell you that she can’t do it alone, and there’s a lot of great players surrounding her that allow her to do the things she does.”
After that goal the story of the half was in the Knights not being able to capitalize on scoring chances, as Calvin was relentlessly seeking the President’s goal. Their firepower was intense, but in the first half after Prins’ initial goal, no one else was able to increase the Knights’ tally to two.
At halftime the Knights held a 12-1 shots advantage over the Presidents and 5-0 corner kick advantage. But with only a 1-0 lead at the break, Calvin definitely wasn’t able to breathe easily. Recker gave the team a good talk at halftime and once the second half was underway, Calvin let everyone know that the offense was only just getting going.
“I told them not to worry so much about trying to score goals,” Recker said of his halftime talk that got the Knights going, “they just needed to settle in and play their game and good things will happen.”
In the 69th minute of play, with a decent chunk of the second half already gone, freshman midfielder Francesca Smith received a Mindy Capiscolto corner kick, settled the ball, and then placed an accurate shot into the lower left corner of the goal, upping Calvin’s lead to 2-0.
Smith was one of Calvin’s many freshmen who have made definite immediate impacts on this team, contributing in valuable ways. On the stat sheet after Friday’s match, freshman winger Jillian Honderd was attributed with only one shot. But for those who were actually there, they saw her take ball after ball down the right flank of the field, forcing corner kicks and getting crosses into the box, essentially an offensive catalyst that contributed to many attacks that the Knights poured on in the second half, including forcing the corner kick that led to Smith’s goal.
“It’s that youthful energy and passion in front of the net that are critical elements for each class,” Recker said of his first-year players, “and we’re really thankful that out of this particular freshmen class we’ve been able to get some quality minutes.”
Just four minutes after Smith gave the Knights a 2-0 lead, Prins connected on her second corner kick from Lauren Heyboer, sending the ball into the upper right half of the net with a finessed flick of her head.
Prins’ two goals were her sixth and seventh goals of the season. Prins finished Friday’s match with six total shots, with her two headers going for goals.
After that third goal the Presidents were basically in desperation mode trying to keep their season alive. Their defense implemented what looked like an offside trap in order to try and generate more offense, but the Knights took advantage of that change with some consecutive breakaway plays, the most notable one being a goal scored by freshman Liz Cancel in the 81st minute, her fifth of the year.
Cancel received a long pass from Capiscolto and then took it up the left side of the field, beat a defender and dribbled into the box with only the keeper to beat. Cancel snuck the ball past the President goalie just as she attempted to make a sliding stop, and the Knights were sitting pretty on a 4-0 lead with only 8 minutes to play.
This would be the prevailing score as Washington and Jefferson was eliminated and Calvin improved to an overall 2009 record of 15-4-1. As a whole, Calvin out-shot the Presidents Friday by a margin of 30-3, with a 9-3 shots-on-goal advantage. The firepower proved to be too much for the Presidents to handle and with the win the Knights move on to a second round match-up against Wittenberg University.
“As you move forward in the NCAA tournament each team becomes successively stronger in terms of ability to counter or defend,” Recker said about how his team will approach tomorrow’s second round match, “and potentially opportunities may become more limited.”
“The tournament is really all about endurance because it falls at the end of the regular season,” he continued, “so that’s how we’ll face it, hoping we have enough left to get a win and move on.”
The match tomorrow [Saturday] will be held again at Calvin’s Zuidema Field at 1:00 in the afternoon.
No matter how you look at it, you can never say never. The hopes and dreams of the 2009 Calvin women’s soccer team are still alive.