Women’s Soccer Wraps Up MIAA Regular Season Title With 2-0 Victory Over Hope
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
(written by Calvin Sports Information student assistant Derek Niece)
Matched up against rival Hope College Wednesday afternoon, Calvin came out strong on Senior Day in what would be their last home match of the regular season, defeating the Flying Dutch 2-0. The seniors received a nice ovation before the game, highlighting their Calvin soccer careers and the various accolades that have been received over their four years on the team.
“God has given them a wonderful gift to play this game,” said Coach Mark Recker of the senior players on his team, “and these are seniors who over the course of their four years have been champions every year. So this is a really impressive group of young women.”
After a scoreless first half in which the Knights were unable to capitalize on various opportunities, freshman winger Jillian Honderd (Hudsonville, MI/Unity Christian HS) broke the game open with a flick of her head, sending the ball just over the goal-line before Hope defenders could clear the danger.
The goal, which came just two minutes into the second half, would prove to be all the Knights would need to close the game out as they put on another dominant defensive show, out-shooting Hope 24-3 with a 10-2 shots-on-goal advantage.
Of the way his team played in their final regular season match, Recker said, “Our opportunities were there, and we just weren’t finishing. But the fact that our youngsters came and played big today is really important for us as a program.”
The Calvin freshmen accounted for much of the offensive firepower that the Knights would put up over the course of the game. Midfielder Francesca Smith (Bloomington, IA) was almost always involved in moving the ball up the field, and Jillian Honderd stole the show with seven total shots and both of the Calvin goals.
Honderd’s second goal came in the 65th minute of play off of a scramble in the right side box in which she took a touch to create some space and then slammed a shot into the left side of the net. The goal, Honderd’s fifth of the year, put the Knights up by two, essentially cementing the victory for Calvin.
“Jill is deft at finding the back of the net and being in the right place at the right time,” Recker said of freshman Honderd, “and her speed and quickness are key for that.”
Honderd very nearly had a hat trick in what would have been the icing on the cake for her young career off of a shot that just scooted wide of the goal in the 71st minute.
Calvin’s defense maintained the lead and the Knights came away with their seventh conference win, pushing their first-place record to 7-1 (13-4 overall). Wednesday’s victory also marked the seventh straight win that the women’s soccer team has recorded over Hope, dating back to 2005.
Looking forward, the Knights have some time off before entering MIAA tournament play, games that Calvin most likely has to win in order to obtain a bid to the national tournament.
Of the Knights’ postseason outlook, Recker said, “The league’s parity is improving, so there are no easy games in this tournament.
“There will always be vulnerabilities unless you come out and execute,” Recker concluded.
With the regular season complete, the Knights have clinched first place in the MIAA. With a first round bye, their next match will take place in the semifinal round at home on Tuesday November 3rd.
Final MIAA Women’s Soccer Standings (Regular season League Records)
Saint Mary’s 1-6-1
MIAA Tournament Seedings/Schedule
Saturday, Oct. 31 first round games
#6 Albion at #3 Alma
#5 Hope at #4 Kalamazoo
Tuesday, Nov. 3 Semifinals
Albion/Alma winner at #2 Adrian
Kalamazoo/Hope winner at #1 Calvin
Saturday, Nov. 7 Finals
Site of highest remaining seed.
Wednesday, Oct. 28 MIAA Women’s Soccer Scores
Alma 2, Kalamazoo 1 (2OT)
Calvin 2, Hope 0
Albion 8, Trine 0
Olivet 1, Saint Mary’s 1 (2OT Tie)