By Gina de Haan
In its final regular season game of the year, the Calvin women's soccer team welcomed the Flying Dutch of Hope to Zuidema Field.
The two rivals will play each other again on Thursday night at 7 p.m. at Hope's Van Andel Stadium in an MIAA Tournament semifinal game. Kalamazoo will host Alma in the tournament's other semifinal match Thursday evening.
Both teams came out strong, recording two shots apiece in the first ten minutes of play. The Dutch controlled the remainder of the half, outshooting the Knights 8-0 to hold a 10-2 shot advantage at halftime.
As the midpoint of the first half neared, Hope senior Natalie Curry put a pair of shots on goal, one as she broke away from a defender in the box to get an open look and the other off a corner kick served in by junior Erin Brophy, but was denied by Calvin goalkeeper Brianna Koehn both times.
Neither team would find the back of the net and the score was nil-nil at the break.
The second half started off slowly, but a persistent offensive effort by the Dutch was finally rewarded late in the match.
In the 68th minute, a corner kick served in by Hope's Erin Brophy led to a flurry in the box. However, Hope's one shot that arose from the opportunity, coming off the foot of sophomore Morgan Buursma, was blocked and cleared out by Calvin midfielder Bekah Maguire. The score remained knotted at zero.
With just over a minute to play, the Knights had a corner kick chance to even the score, but Emily Van Veldhuizen's header sailed high of the goal, and Hope held onto its one-goal advantage as time expired.
Final shots were 19-5 in favor of the Dutch, with 11 of those shots being on frame. Calvin goalkeeper Brianna Koehn recorded nine saves in the loss, while Hope goalkeeper Mary Clare Theis finished with two saves.
"We played hard and gave ourselves a chance to win," said Calvin women's soccer coach Mark Recker. "Hope had the majority of the scoring chances and the pressure they put on us finally paid off but I am proud of my team for competing to the very end. We had a few scoring chances. If we put one in – it could have been a different game. The challenge now is to put this behind us and get ready to play the same opponent three days from now in a different environment and with even more on the line."
Monday's game marked the 54th meeting between the two rivals with the Knights holding a 34-15-5 series lead.