GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The No. 3 Calvin men's soccer team defeated Adrian 2-1 to claim its fifth consecutive MIAA Tournament Championship on Saturday at Zuidema Field. With the win, the Knights earn an automatic berth into the NCAA Division III Tournament.
Calvin improves to 17-1-0 on the season, while Adrian ends its season with a 8-8-1 overall record. During the regular season meeting between the two teams, Calvin handed Adrian its first loss of conference play with a 4-0 win.
The championship match was a thriller as Calvin took an early lead and fended off an Adrian second-half comeback attempt.
Calvin's offense poured on the pressure early, collecting five shots in the first 14 minutes of play. Senior Bobby McCaw (Dubuque, Iowa/Hempstead) scored in the 15th minute off a free kick play to give the Knights and early lead. Senior Trent Vegter (Hudsonville, Mich./Unity Christian) took the kick, firing a pass deep in the box to junior Ian Adams (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian) who crossed the ball to find McCaw wide open for his 19th goal of the season.
Senior Lucas Albrecht (Plymouth, Mich./Plymouth Christian) added to the Knights' lead in the 40th minute with an unassisted goal, charging up the left side of the box and firing a shot past Adrian's keeper to give Calvin a 2-0 lead.
At the half, the Knights held a 10-4 shots advantage, including four shots on goal.
The second half was closely-contested as the Bulldogs staged a comeback effort.
Adrian got on the board in the 60th minute when sophomore Justin Tobin headed in a goal off a corner kick. Senior Dolan Bonkowski and junior Garrett Miller collected assists on the scoring play.
The Bulldogs notched three more shots, but were unable to score the equalizer and Calvin held on to a 2-1 lead to earn the championship victory.
Calvin outshot 19-9 in the winning effort. Sophomore goalkeeper Chris Morrish (Bradenton, Fla./Saint Stephen's Episcopal School) collected two saves on the evening.
"We're extremely pleased to win the (tournament) championship," said Calvin men's soccer coach Ryan Souders. "Adrian is a high-quality side that is well-coached. They came in with a game plan and made life difficult on us. It wasn't always pretty but we found a way to get the result. I thought it was a great championship atmosphere with excellent fan support from both sides. I think that's what you want in a conference tournament final. We are glad to be moving forward."
The Knights' seeding for the NCAA Division III Tournament will be determined during Monday's NCAA Division III Selection Show at 1 p.m. on NCAA.com.