GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The No. 4 Calvin men's soccer team picked up a win in the opening round of the NCAA Division III Men's Soccer Tournament on Friday afternoon. The Knights shut out Greenville 4-0 to advance to the Regional Final.
With the win, Calvin improves to 18-1-0 overall. The Knights are making their fifth appearance in the NCAA III Tournament in the past six years.
"There are no easy wins in the NCAA Tournament. I'm proud of our guys," said Calvin head men's soccer coach Ryan Souders. "I thought Greenville was fantastic. They came out very strong. They're a skilled team, a physical team, and I felt our guys matched that. To be able to put something away today was obviously very big."
Greenville finishes the season with a 15-5-1 mark. The Panthers received an automatic berth into the NCAA III Tournament by winning the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament Championship. This year marked the Panthers' fourth appearance in the national tournament.
Both team's offenses came out strong despite the falling snow. In the 21st minute, the Knights fired a trio of shots, but all were blocked before they reached the goal.
Less than ten minutes later, senior Lucas Albrecht (Plymouth, Mich./Plymouth Christian) capitalized for the Knights less than a minute as he came streaking down the middle to finish a perfectly crossed ball from junior Ian Adams (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian).
The Knights continued to pour on the pressure racking up three more shots before Albrecht struck for another goal in the 43rd minute, the assist coming from senior Reid Culberson (Elgin, Ill./Wheaton Academy) this time around.
At the half, Calvin held a 10-4 shots advantage and 2-0 lead.
The Knights added a pair of goals in the second half to take control of the match.
In the 52nd minute, Calvin leading scorer senior Bobby McCaw (Dubuque, Iowa/Hempstead) gave the Knights a 3-0 lead with a left-footed finish off a double-assist from juniors Dillon Weldy (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian) and Hunter Olson (Canton, Mich./Canton).
Weldy added one last goal in the 68th minute, heading in a ball off his own rebound to seal the victory for the Knights.
Calvin outshot the Panthers 15-6 in the winning effort, including eight shots on goal. Sophomore Chris Morrish collected four saves in the shutout victory.
The Knights are back in action on Saturday in the NCAA III Men's Soccer Regional Finals where they will meet University of Wisconsin-Platteville, a 4-1 first round winner over Carthage Friday evening.