By Gina de Haan
On Saturday afternoon, the Calvin men's soccer team hosted the Britons of Albion College in an early season showdown for first place in the MIAA standings. In addition, the Knights were looking to extend their seven-game win streak, the five most recent of those victories earned against conference opponents.
Ranked 20th nationally, the Knights entered the match sitting atop of the conference standings at 5-0-0 with 15 points. The Britons sat three points back in second place, holding a 4-1-0 league record.
The Knights defeated the visiting Brits 1-0 to extend their win-streak and maintain their first-place position in the conference.
Despite slippery field conditions, the first half was fast-paced with both teams seeing scoring chances early in the contest.
The match remained scoreless until late in the first half, when the Knights capitalized off their persistent offensive pressure. Dillon Weldy got Calvin on the board first when he rocketed a shot into the upper-left corner of the net with 9:16 left before halftime.
At the half, Calvin held a 10-2 shots at goal advantage and a one goal lead.
In the 61st minute, Albion's Kyle Johnson came in on a breakaway, but Calvin goalkeeper Nate Van Ryn came out to challenge, causing Johnson's chip shot to hit the cross bar. The Brits' Bobby Budlong put a shot on goal off the rebound, but was robbed by Van Ryn to preserve Calvin's 1-0 advantage.
Albion was unable to put one past Van Ryn, who made four saves in his sixth consecutive shutout victory. The Knights have yet to give up a goal in league play.
"Albion is a much improved team and they gave us a real battle," said Calvin head coach Ryan Souders. "It's always good to get a conference win at home and we found a way to get it done. Nate (Van Ryn) came up with some big plays for us.
He's the kind of player that gets the job done. We needed him today and he came through."Calvin outshot Albion 19-7 on the afternoon.
The Knights are back in action on Wednesday when they travel to Angola, Indiana, to face Trine for another MIAA matchup.