Hope Defeats Calvin 3-1 - Rivals Now Share MIAA Lead
By Mark DeHaan
The Calvin men's soccer team traveled to Holland on Tuesday evening in a meeting between the top two teams in the MIAA. Calvin entered the matchup at 6-1-0 in the conference while Hope was 5-2-0 in league play.
The Knights and Flying Dutchmen already played once this season, with Calvin claiming a 5-1 victory at Zuidema Field on September 17.
Again, it would be the home team defending their field as the Flying Dutchmen came away with a 3-1 victory.
Hope possessed the ball much of the first half and recorded the first strong opportunity on net in the 13th minute that slipped just wide.
Hope continued to pressure, and just as they had in the first meeting, it was the Flying Dutchmen that struck first. Gavin Midlam headed a Grant Neil throw-in past the Calvin keeper as Hope took a 1-0 lead.
The Knights almost got one back in the 37th minute as junior Travis Vegter sent sophomore Taylor Pruis through the Hope defense on a run. Unfortunately, the shot by Pruis went wide of frame, and the Flying Dutchmen took the 1-0 lead into the break.
Less than four minutes out of halftime, Hope added an insurance goal. Tarwo Konbloa set up on the back post and volleyed in a cross from Cameron Dice to give the Flying Dutchmen a 2-0 lead.
Calvin got a goal back in the 62nd minute. Making a run up the middle, senior Zach Willis sent Vegter to the top of the box with a through ball. Collecting the ball on his left foot, Vegter cracked a shot which beat the Hope keeper near post for his 16th goal of the season, cutting Hope's advantage to 2-1.
In the 83rd minute, Hope scored a third goal which sealed the game, as Cameron Dice received a pass from Jason Muller and beat Calvin keeper Andrew Claucherty one-on-one.
Calvin continued to pressure, sending another man forward on offense but could not score another goal as it fell 3-1 to rival Hope.
Despite the score, the Knights held a 22-19 shots advantage. Calvin also earned a 6-4 corner kick edge by game's end. Claucherty made five saves in net for the Knights.
"I felt like tonight, Hope did the little things and we didn't," said head coach Ryan Souders. "When two good teams square off, the little things make the difference. In terms of dangerous chances, I think we were quite even. They put a couple more away, their keeper makes a couple of extra saves, and that's the difference. I'm proud of our effort, we just have to pick ourselves up and get the next three points."
Calvin falls to 7-5-0 overall and 6-2-0 in the MIAA, while Hope improves to 10-3-1 and 6-2-0 in league play.
The Knights now look forward to Saturday when they will try to get back on the winning track when they host the Thunder of Trine at 2:30 p.m.