Big Second Half Propels Men's Soccer to Comeback Win at Albion

Big Second Half Propels Men's Soccer to Comeback Win at Albion

ALBION, Mich. - The Calvin men's soccer team found a way to weather a first half storm by the Albion Britons to claim a 4-1 conference victory on the road Wednesday night.

With Albion fiercely fighting for one of the final MIAA Tournament playoff spots, Calvin faced a team full of energy and determination.

Albion (8-9-0 overall, 7-6-0 MIAA) used that energy to draw first blood, scoring 15 minutes into the match as Erik Vanfossen was able to run onto a well-placed pass from teammate Bobby Budlong and slip a shot past Calvin goalkeeper Nate Van Ryn (Grandville, Mich./Calvin Christian HS).

The Vanfossen goal came moments after the Knights had peppered the Albion goal with a trio of shots including a shot by sophomore Bobby McCaw (Dubuque, Ia./Hempstead HS) that rang the woodwork.

Calvin freshman Hunter Olson (Canton, Mich./Canton HS) nearly tied the game with a shot inside the final five minutes of the first half but his attempt was cleared by an Albion defender just short of the goalline.

In the second half, Calvin was not to be denied as McCaw broke free for a pair of goals that gave the Knights a 2-1 advantage.

McCaw's first goal came in the 57th minute on a flick over Albion goalkeeper Justin Kraft. McCaw's equalizer came off a feed from junior Matt Hinds (Frankenmuth, Mich./Frankenmuth HS).

McCaw's go-ahead goal came in the 70th minute after junior Mitch Stark (South Lyon, Mich./South Lyon HS) beat a defender up the left wing and squared a pass into the box that McCaw smashed home. The go-ahead goal was McCaw's eighth goal of the season.

Hinds then got into the scoring act two minutes later on a combination play with freshman Ben Mast (Grand Haven, Mich./Spring Lake HS). On the play, Mast was able to hold the ball under pressure and then connect with Hinds for an insurance goal.

Calvin put the capper on the comeback with a goal by junior Micah Beard (Otsego, Mich./Otsego HS) with 1:22 remaining. Stark chalked up an assist on the play - his 11th of the season and the 31st of his career. Stark is now tied with Doug DeSmit for fourth place on the Calvin career list for assists.

Ranked 20th nationally, Calvin (15-2-0 overall, 12-1-0 MIAA) finished the match with a 14-6 shots at goal advantage including a 9-2 edge in the second half. Van Ryn had three saves in net for the Knights in goal.

"This was a huge team win on the road against a very good Albion team," said Calvin men's soccer coach Ryan Souders. "Our guys answered well to the adversity of falling behind early with a great second half. The comeback was something that our players did together which was exciting to see. I am really proud of this entire group and of the final result."

Calvin will close out the MIAA regular season on Saturday, hosting Trine at 2:30 p.m. at Zuidema Field. As MIAA regular season champions, the Knights have gained the top seed for the four-team MIAA Tournament and will also host an MIAA Tournament semifinal game at 3 p.m. on November 3.

Calvin will face either Albion or Kalamazoo in the MIAA Tournament semifinal. Albion and Kalamazoo are tied for fourth place in the MIAA standings and face each other in a regular season finale Saturday at Kalamazoo.  Adrian and Alma have already secured the other two MIAA Tournament slots.