Men’s soccer secure spot in NCAA tournament

Photo+courtesy+Calvin+SID

Photo courtesy Calvin SID

Calvin’s men’s soccer team won the MIAA Championship against Kalamazoo College 8-7 in nine rounds of penalty kicks, marking the second year that penalties decided the champion. With this victory, Calvin secured an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Junior goalie Nike Giantsopoulos made two saves in the shootout to propel the Knights to victory.

“To be honest I was disappointed at how I wasn’t saving as much in the first five, but I tried to get myself back into it, and stay focused,” said Giantsopoulos. After saving Kalamazoo’s last shot, he said, “It paid off.”

Both teams put up a fight throughout the game, scoring one goal apiece in the first half and putting up double digit shot totals, but Calvin had more opportunities with eight shots on goal compared to Kalamazoo’s two.

Sophomore midfielder Isky VanDoorne gave the Knights the lead in the 34th minute after senior Travis Vegter sent a through ball to right side of the 18. VanDoorne took a touch to get away from defenders and sent his shot into the far netting.

Kalamazoo equalized minutes later on a corner kick. In the 37th minute, a header from a Kalamazoo player found its way into the corner of the goal.

Coach Ryan Souders praised his team for being committed throughout the game, but also spoke well of the opposition: “They’re a tournament-worthy team. They’re coached well, [and] they’re committed to their cause.”

After the win he added: “I’m going to sleep a whole lot better tonight and tomorrow night now that our name will be somewhere in the bracket.”