GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- On Saturday afternoon, the Calvin men's soccer team hosted the Scots of Alma College in the MIAA Tournament finals.
Behind a hat trick by sophomore Bobby McCaw (Dubuque, Iowa/Hempstead HS) the Knights came out on top against the Scots, walking away with a 4-2 victory and as MIAA Tournament champions. With this win, the Knights earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament.
The Knights, the top seed in the tournament, entered the contest 17-2-0 overall with a 13-1-0 MIAA mark, while Alma, the number-two seed, had a 14-5-1 overall record, 9-4-1 in conference play.
This past Thursday, the Knights claimed a 7-1 victory over Albion in the MIAA Tournament semifinals. In the other semifinal match, the Scots took a 1-0 overtime win over Adrian College.
The game was a rematch of last year's MIAA Tournament final in which Calvin won 3-0. Calvin and Alma met twice this year during the regular season. In late September, the Knights claimed a 2-0 victory on the road and two weeks ago, secured their 27th MIAA regular season title with a 5-0 win at Zuidema Field.
Despite trailing Alma 2-1 late in the first half, Calvin was able to even the score before the halftime break and pull away in the second half.
Calvin fired off three shots early in the match, but was unable to capitalize until the 17th minute when a crossed ball was deflected by an Alma defender onto the foot of sophomore Bobby McCaw who rocketed a shot into the back of the net.
However, the Scots quickly responded, scoring a tying goal just under four minutes later when Lucas Fourst headed a ball into the back corner of the net off a throw in by Austin Gabris.
In the 30th minute, Alma would take a 2-1 lead. Off a corner kick from Noah Canlas, Austin Gabris was able to break free of the Calvin defense, get ahold of the ball with his head and send it into the far corner of the net.
The Knights were able to even the score before halftime, when Ian Adams (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian HS) found space in the inner box and put in his third goal of the tournament. Dillon Weldy (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian HS) was credited with the assist on the play.
At halftime, the scoreboard read 2-2 and the Knights possessed a 7-3 shots advantage.
Calvin's offensive momentum carried into the second half. In the 50th minute, Isky Van Doorne (Calgary, Alberta/Western Canada HS) fired a shot, but it was blocked by an Alma defender. Van Doorne collected his own rebound and sent a crossing pass to Bobby McCaw who fired in a top-shelf goal, earning the Knights a 4-2 advantage.
Ten minutes later, McCaw would strike again for the Knights when his shot on goal trickled past Alma goalkeeper Nick Strait, completing his hat trick. McCaw's goal would be the final of the match.
At the conclusion of the match, Calvin led Alma 20-6 in shots. McCaw recorded a game-high six shots on goal.
This past Monday, for the first time in his collegiate career, McCaw was named the MIAA Offensive Player of the Week.
In the victory, Calvin goalkeeper Nate VanRyn (Grandville, Mich./Calvin Christian HS) logged two saves.
Next weekend, the Knights will begin play in the NCAA Division III National Tournament. Calvin awaits its NCAA Tournament placement, which will be announced on Monday.