Soccer team excited for the future

Knights after defeating Hope for the 2019 MIAA Tournament championship

Knights after defeating Hope for the 2019 MIAA Tournament championship

Men’s soccer fell one game short of reaching the DIII National Title game for the third time in five years last season. The continued success has given the team good memories as well as a desire to improve.

“With any team or any group, you’re going to have some on-field highlights and some off-field highlights,” head coach Ryan Souders said. “Any win against Hope is appreciated around here, and to do that at their place and then to win an exciting penalty shootout here, that is certainly a highlight.”

Several Calvin players have been present for much of the success. “With our upperclassmen, I think about the service they showed,” Souders said. “They were really special.” Seniors Hunter Olson and Ian Adams made the NCAA DIII first and second teams respectively after the season concluded.

Outside back Ethan Harvey mentioned the tournament game against North Park University as a significant memory. “Being an outside back, I was right next to the North Park fans for one of the halves. It’s always good to hear some chirps,” Harvey said. Adams would end up winning that game for the Knights with an overtime goal to break a 1-1 tie with only 1:22 left on the clock.

Calvin finished the year 23-2-1 with the one draw ending in a shootout victory for the Knights in the MIAA Tournament final against Hope. Despite numerous wins and four trips to the National Championship game, the Knights are still looking for their first title. “Winning a National Championship is really hard, and I think there are some challenges that we are facing here that contribute to that,” Souders said. “You look at some of the setups at other schools, those situations allow them to be competitive for an extended period of time.”

“As for us, we need to keep fighting, keep recruiting well, and keep building a healthy culture. I hope that we continue to knock on the door,” Souders said. “We are going to have to try to rediscover our identity after graduating five seniors.”

“People are already talking about how much we are losing, but I think as a team we have a lot of good young guys who are ready to contribute right away,” first-year Jon Szydlowski said.

While Souders admitted that success has become the norm, he knows that work still must be done to maintain and improve the men’s soccer program. “We got to get ready to compete,” Souders said.