CLEVELAND, Oh. - Calvin punched its ticket to the national semifinals with a 3-1 victory over host Case Western Reserve Saturday night in a national quarterfinal match.
Calvin advances to the national semifinals for the third time in four years and for the fifth time in school history. The Knights will play at 11 a.m. against an opponent to be determined on November 30 in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Calvin (21-1-0) picked up Saturday's victory over Case Western Reserve in come-from-behind fashion. The Knights dominated possesion during the first half but found themselves down 1-0 late in the first half as Case Western Reserve struck for a goal in the 37th minute against the run of play as Seldon Magruder broke free through the right side of the box and roofed a shot inside the near post.
Calvin pressed the attack, winning a pair of corner kicks in the closing minutes of the half. On the second corner kick, Case Western Reserve was whistled for a foul in the box, giving the Knights a penalty kick. Senior Jacob Witte (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian HS) made good on the spot kick, whipping in his 17th goal of the season to level the score 1-1 with just 1:18 left in half.
The score remained tied 1-1 into the second half but the Knights began to chip away at the Case Western Reserve defense. Calvin broke through the defensive wall in the 64th minute as junior Hunter Olson (Canton, Mich./Canton HS) took a back-pass from Witte and sent a laser from 25 yards out into the back of the net, giving Calvin a 2-1 lead in the 65th minute of play. The goal was Olson's 13th of the season.
Case Western pushed back, attempting to found the equalizer but the Calvin defense remained stout and its possession game steady. Calvin senior Lucas Albrecht (Plymouth, Mich./Plymouth Christian HS) then provided the clincher, cranking in a shot from the left-hand side of the box with just 9:26 remaining. The Albrecht goal - his 11th of the season - put a wrap on the Calvin victory and cemented a spot in the national semifinals.
"I'm really at a loss for words," said Calvin men's soccer coach Ryan Souders. "To be down a goal, come back, equalize and then get two goals in the second half against an extremely talented Case Western Reserve team is a great testament to our guys. From 1-26 on our team I thought we were completely bought in and committed. Even when we got down a goal I did not feel like there was any 'give' by our guys. There's a great sense of relief and a great sense of excitement with tonight's result."
Witte commented on the penalty kick that tied the score late in the first half. "I knew it was an important shot to take but I told myself that it was just a 12-yard kick in the end," said Witte. "I knew that I had my team behind me no matter what happened. That kind of support is big."
Albrecht's clinching goal was his second in as many nights. All 11 of his goals have come as a substitute off the bench. "My teammates had some great one and two-touches," said Albrecht. "I saw an opening at the near psot and just hit it."
Albrecht also commented on Calvin's third trip to the national semifinals in four years. "I think confidence is a big thing with our program," said Albrecht. "Coach (Souders) instills in us that we are the best team if we play the way we know we can. If we come out and play with fire we know we can get results."
Calvin finished the game with a 17-10 shots at goal advantage. Sophomore Chris Morrish (Bradenton, Fla./St. Stephen's Episcopal School) had three saves in goal for the Knights.