GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Calvin men's soccer team opened its season on Friday evening, hosting the Ospreys of Stockton University (NJ) in the first round of the Cal Bergsma Memorial Tournament.
The Knights entered the season ranked seventh nationally in the Division III United Soccer Coaches poll. Calvin posted a 21-1-1 record last season to reach the NCAA III Tournament for the 10th time in 11 years.
The Ospreys struck first at Zuidema Field as senior Eucario Solano capitalized on a penalty kick opportunity.
The Knights did not take long to answer as senior Bobby McCaw (Dubuque, Iowa/Hempstead) fed senior Jacob Witte (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian) who fired a shot into the bottom right corner to tie the game in the eighth minute.
Stockton regained the lead in the 16th minute on an impressive bicycle kick goal by freshman Villy Fortulus.
Calvin freshman Mason Smith (Flint, Mich./Flint Powers Catholic) netted the equalizer for the Knights, scoring his first collegiate goal in the 36th minute. Sophomore Schaeffer Smith (Columbus, Ohio/Worthington Christian) and Witte picked up assists on the scoring play.
The Knights came out strong in the second half as junior Ian Adams (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian) threaded a pass to McCaw for the go-ahead goal in the 47th minute. Witte widened the Knights advantage to two with an unassisted goal in the 54th minute, his second goal of the evening.
Junior Hunter Olson (Canton, Mich./Canton) secured the Calvin victory, scoring with just under four minutes remaining in the contest off an assist from senior Reid Culberson (Elgin, Ill./Wheaton Academy) to give the Knights a 5-2 home win.
The Knights outshot the Ospreys 16-7 on the evening. Calvin sophomore goalkeeper Chris Morrish (Bradenton, Fl./Saint Stephan's Episcopal School) posted three saves in the winning effort.
"It was a really good win against a really good Stockton side," said Calvin men's soccer coach Ryan Souders. "We were pushed back on our heels but fought back to get back in the game. I thought we had contributions from a wide variety of guys – many who were playing in their first game in a Calvin uniform. We have a lot of work to do but we'll take this result and move forward."
Souders also saluted Calvin women's soccer coach Emily Ottenhoff who opened her head coaching career with a victory earlier in the afternoon on the same pitch in a 4-1 win over Carthage. "We are all so excited for Emily and her program," said Souders. "It was exciting for our community to see two exciting games with Calvin coming out on top in both. It was a great day for Calvin soccer."
The Cal Bergsma Memorial Tournament is co-hosted by Calvin and Hope. In Friday's other first round game, Hope defeated Manchester University 3-0. Tomorrow the schedule flip-flops with Calvin hosting Manchester and Hope hosting Stockton. The Knights' game time is set for 7 p.m.