By Gina de Haan
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Calvin women's soccer team opened its MIAA season with a 2-1 home victory over the Kalamazoo Hornets on Wednesday evening. Junior Bekah Maguire (Holland, Mich./Holland Christian) scored the game-winning goal in the 79th minute to help the Knights maintain their perfect record.
The Knights were picked to finish third in the MIAA preseason coaches' poll, while Kalamazoo was picked to finish fourth.
Calvin entered the contest undefeated after posting a 2-0 record at the Milwaukee School of Engineering Invitational last weekend, earning wins over Lake Forest and MSOE.
In Wednesday's match, the Knights took an early 1-0 lead as junior Kali Mouw (Avon, N.Y., Avon Central) found the back of the net off a long lead chip by junior Emily Van Vliet (Grandville, Mich./Calvin Christian) in the second minute.
Despite trailing at the half, the Hornets held a 5-4 shots advantage.
Kalamazoo evened the score nine minutes into the second half when Josie Sibley capitalized off a feed from Madison Vallan, burying a shot from the left side of the box to the far post.
With 11:03 remaining, a cross in the box by Jessica Paulson (Plymouth, Mich./Plymouth Christian) gave junior Maguire a wide-open look and she capitalized for the game-winning goal.
The Hornets were awarded a free kick just outside of the box with three minutes remaining, but the following two shots were disallowed by the Knights and time expired.
Kalamazoo outshot the Knights 13-9 on the evening. Calvin goalkeeper Amy Kliewer (Grand Rapids, Mich./Forest Hills Northern) made five saves in the victory.
"It was nice to get out early, although it can unsettle you something. Since the goal came quick, the tendency is to think that it's all going to come easy," said head coach Mark Recker. "After that, we kind of went flat. It's the first game with classes going on and we have a lot of freshman learning the ropes. But being able to keep pushing hard to get that go-ahead goal, like we did last weekend after giving up the tying goal, is part of the character that this team is forming."
The Knights continue into a busy stretch, during which they will play five games in the next 10 days, including four conference matches. This Saturday, Calvin hosts non-conference opponent Heidelberg at 3 p.m.
"We want to focus in on creating an imprint in our league, but we don't want to give the non-league games away either. We're trying to get people minutes, so we learn more about each and every player," says Recker.