GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Calvin men's soccer team claimed its fifth MIAA Tournament Championship on Saturday night, claiming a decisive 5-0 victory over Adrian College. With the win, the Knights earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament.
With the win, Calvin improves to 19-0-1 overall, while Adrian concludes its season at 11-6-2. Calvin is ranked No. 1 in the United Soccer Coaches Division III Top-25 poll and No. 2 in the D3soccer. com Top-25 poll. The Knights extend their winning streak to seven games, while snapping the Bulldog's five-game run. Calvin swept the season series from Adrian this season, winning 3-0 at Calvin on Sept. 19 and 5-1 at Adrian on Oct. 14.
Saturday's match marked Calvin's sixth straight appearance in an MIAA Tournament final and the first time the Knights and Bulldogs faced off in a conference tournament championship. Calvin head coach Ryan Souders has led the Knights to five MIAA Tournament titles, as well as six MIAA regular season championships, four trips to the NCAA Division III Tournament and two trips to the NCAA Division III semifinals, including a berth in the NCAA Division III Championship final in 2016.
"In many ways, this is what you play – to get a chance to go to the big dance. The guys have worked hard and they've earned it. This is a good Adrian team, and we're really glad that our name is going to show up on Monday during the selection show," said Souders.
The Knights controlled the first half, outshooting the Bulldogs 13-5 and earning two goals.
Adrian had the first solid scoring chance in the 23rd minute, as Jordan Miller settled a bouncing ball and fired a shot on net. Senior goalkeeper Nate Van Ryn (Grandville, Mich./Calvin Christian) came up with a big save on Miller's shot to keep the game scoreless.
The Knights responded two minutes later as sophomore Olson got the Calvin on the board, capitalizing off a slot by sophomore Ian Adams (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian).
Calvin's leading scorer McCaw found the back of the net in the 33rd minute, tapping in a crossing pass from senior Matt Hinds (Frankenmuth, Mich./Frankenmuth).
In the first half, the Knights earned 11 corner kicks, while Adrian had none.
Calvin continued to roll in the second half. In the 55th minute, McCaw scored his second goal of the evening, this time assisted by Olson on the counterattack. Less than seven minutes later, junior Jacob Witte (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian) fed sophomore Jacob Lyon (Holt, Mich./Lansing Christian) in the for a goal inside the six-yard box. Adams scored the Knights' fifth and final goal in the 69th minute; Olson fed Adams on a breakaway and he fired a beautiful shot to the top left corner.
The Knights outshot the Bulldogs 31-8 on the evening. Van Ryn posted three saves in the victory.
"I can't say enough about our back four and Nate for really getting the job done, especially early to stop some of Adrian's chances," said Souders.
Calvin will find out its regional opponent on Monday at 1:30 p.m. during the NCAA Division III Men's Soccer Selection Show.
"We'll enjoy this one until midnight, said Souders. "We're excited to be dancing and are going to take it one game and one day at a time."