Calvin women's soccer captures MIAA championship with 1-0 win over Hope
By Mark DeHaan
The Calvin women's soccer team claimed their seventh MIAA title in nine years Monday afternoon at Zuidema Field. Hosting rival Hope College in the final regular season matchup of the season, both teams came in tied for first place with identical 12-2-1 league records.
The winner of the contest would not only take the MIAA regular season title but also the top seed in the MIAA Tournament to be played later this week.
Monday was also Senior Night for Calvin's six seniors: Danielle Carter (DeWitt/DeWitt HS), Ashton Hearn (Port Huron/Port Huron North HS), Kelly Koets (Grandville/Calvin Christian HS), Paige Rindels (Bloomington, MN/Thomas Jefferson HS), Heidi Scholten (Hudsonville/Unity Christian HS), and Rebekah Wissink (Big Rapids/Big Rapids HS) were all honored at Zuidema Field before the game.
In the end, a single goal was the only difference as a tap-in by sophomore Taylor TenHarmsel (Holland/Holland Christian HS) in the 29th minute gave the Knights a 1-0 lead they would not relinquish.
Hope held much of the possession early in the game, putting a few shots toward net the slipped just wide of frame.
In the 29th minute, Calvin took the goal advantage. A failed clear by the Flying Dutch defense landed at the feet of senior Paige Rindels, who played the ball into the box over Hope's defense. Getting just enough of a touch on the ball, TenHarmsel poked it past the charging keeper and into the net.
The Knights held the 1-0 lead at halftime as well as a 4-3 shots advantage.
In the second half, Calvin saw quite a bit of action on defense holding off a surging Hope squad.
In the 76th minute, Hope's Nora Kirk gained a step on the top of the box and ripped a shot that was deflected wide by a Knights defender.
With under ten minutes to go, Kirk again found space and took a shot, this time finding its way through the defense but right at senior keeper Ashton Hearn who made the save.
Calvin's defense then stymied the Hope attack over the final eight minutes, allowing no more shots despite three corner kicks for the Flying Dutch, closing out the 1-0 victory and its second straight MIAA title.
Hope held a 7-5 edge in shots at the end of the game as well as a 7-3 advantage in corner kicks. Hearn recorded two saves in net for the shoutout victory.
"Hope's offense is a constant threat. As a team, I think we are very able to deal with a lot of talent in front of us, and if we could manage the midfield, I felt our defense would be able to limit their overall chances," said head coach Mark Recker. "When you can say that you are the champion of the league after battling all season, it's calming. Today, we got some standout performances from our defense, from our midfield, and from Taylor as the individual set striker. I'm just so impressed with our team."
Calvin improves to 13-2-1 in the MIAA and 16-2-2 overall and now looks forward to Thursday when it will host fourth-seeded Adrian Bulldogs in the semifinals of the MIAA tournament. Hope, falling to 12-3-1 in the league and 15-3-1 overall, will play the Scots of Alma on Thursday as well.