Women’s soccer defends spot atop conference

File photo.

File photo.

The Knights were focused on defending the home turf in two conference games against Alma and Trine. Both games resulted in exciting wins and were pivotal in securing the Knights’ standing as the current leaders of the MIAA.

When the Knights found themselves down 2-0 at the halftime of Tuesday’s game against Alma, they knew they needed some gutsy play to get back on top. Danielle Carter and Kailey Jo provided the momentum the Knights needed in the 71st minute as Carter fired a shot on goal that was deflected to Jo, who was in the right position to start the comeback. In the 87th minute, Jo was again in the right position as Heidi Scholten headed a ball from the corner in her direction to put the Knights into an overtime battle with the Scots.

The Knights put two shots on target in the first overtime to no avail, but the ladies were not going to settle for a loss. With less than three minutes left, Kelly Koets sent a cross in to Scholten who flicked it on to Jo who put it away to finish the hat trick, earning a key victory for the Knights and putting them one point ahead of the Scots in the MIAA table.

Scholten was more than happy to provide Jo with two assists. “Seeing your teammate score a goal is probably the coolest thing,” she said. Scholten also helped pave the way for her team in the Trine game with an assist and a goal as the Knights held themselves firmly on top with a 3-1 win.

Calvin dominated possession, locking Trine on their own half for much of the game. After spreading the attack wide many times, Scholten was able to split the defense with a through ball down the middle for Paige Capel, who slid the ball past the keeper in the 18th minute.

Later in the half, Jenna Bouwer was able to find Scholten inside the box for a second goal. Trine had only been able to go on one counter attack in the first half, but the defense shut them down.

In the second half, the Knights came out strong. Paige Rindels added to the blanket of support with a beautifully curled shot into the far netting. Trine was able to pull a goal back, but the Knights didn’t allow another chance after that.

Capel leads the Knights with eight goals on the season and wants to stay competitive. “It feels great to contribute to the team … I expect us to play up to that level [each game],” she said.

Scholten also expects some pressure. “The goal is to remain in that place of excellence and show up to every game. We don’t want to just stay at the top, but improve while we are there.”

The Knights face a tough challenge as they head to Wheaton on Tuesday to take on the No. 1 ranked team in the country, and then return to home turf on Saturday to take on Saint Mary’s.