Men’s soccer claims first ever undefeated record in MIAA

Photo+courtesy+Calvin+SID

Photo courtesy Calvin SID

Calvin College’s men’s soccer team won 6-1 in a game against Olivet College on Nov. 1, capping off an undefeated MIAA season. Not only is this the first time for a team to go 14-0-0 in Calvin’s history, it is also the first time a team has gone 14-0-0 in MIAA history.

The only losses the Knights suffered were early in the season before conference games started. Their overall record is 17-2-0.

“Our guys have worked extremely hard to produce those results. We talk about earning things as opposed to deserving things,” head coach Ryan Souders said in regards to their win-loss ratio.

The team has been MIAA defending champions six times running, and having closed out the regular season undefeated, the Knights are looking grab this season’s title as well.

Although Calvin heads into the playoffs with the number one ranking in the MIAA conference, the Knights know the competition will be the best of the best. Players have been preparing for these games since January.

“I think we’re particularly hungry after last year’s disappointing ending. Ultimately, the opportunities will dictate that, but we’re doing everything we can to be as prepared as possible,” Souders states.

With the help of assistant coaches Brady Bryant and Dave Hertel, Souders has been able to lead the team to success.

“They have been absolutely paramount to our success,” Souders said.

While there have been a couple of standout players recognized by the MIAA, Souders goes on to say that, “We are strongest as a group of 26; and each of them would say the same. No one guy is ultimately more important in chasing down what we are after.”

After the Olivet victory, senior forward Travis Vegter, who earned player of the week honors five times this season, commented, “I couldn’t be happier with how our team has performed so far this season. We all get along very well on and off the field and we have developed great team chemistry […] I couldn’t ask for a better group of guys that really bring the best out of everybody.”

In the opening game of the MIAA Tournament, Vegter assisted his sophomore teammate Stephan Hooker for the second goal of the game, which proved to be insurance. A goal in the first half had given the Knights the lead, and the defense earned a shutout despite nine fouls including a yellow card.

Saturday, November 8 will see Calvin take on the Kalamazoo Hornets in the final after the Hornets defeated the Hope Flying Dutchmen 2-0. The Hornets’ goalkeeper made eight saves in the effort meaning the Knights will need to really need to bring out the best in their offense come game time.

Vegter is aware of what is at stake: “Every team that we face from now on knows how to win. Every game could be our last, but I firmly believe we have more than what it takes to go all the way this year.”