HOLLAND, Mich. - Calvin opened its MIAA slate with a hard-fought 3-1 victory at rival Hope Tuesday night at Van Andel Stadium.
Calvin scored in the opening minutes of each half and added a clinching goal in the final 1:12 of regulation to claim three points in the league standings.
Ranked third nationally, Calvin (12-1-0 overall, 1-0-0 MIAA) was pushed throughout the match but found a way to make big plays at opportune times.
Sophomore Sam Twigg (Aukland, New Zealand HS) gave the Knights an early boost with his seventh goal of the season just 1:24 in the contest. Twigg redirected a bouncing ball past Hope goalkeeper Blair McCormick with senior Ian Adams (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian HS) drawing his 13th assist of the season on the play. Adams is currently the NCAA III leader in assists.
Hope (7-5-0 overall, 0-1-0 MIAA) pushed right back with a goal by Alec Belcastro off a squared pass in the box just 5:58 into the match, leveling the game at one.
Calvin came close to taking the lead two minutes later as a shot by freshman Aguma Muhumaza (Baton Rouge, La./The Dunham School) sailed over the bar. Two minutes later, senior Hunter Olson (Canton, Mich./Canton HS) belted a shot on a corner kick play that was tipped by McCormick and skimmed off the crossbar.
The Knights then broke through for a go-ahead goal 2:04 into the second half as freshman Justin Wojcik (Canton, Mich./Plymouth HS) broke free through the right side of the box on a lead pass from Twigg and buried a shot inside the far post for his third goal of the season.
Holding a 2-1 lead, Calvin was forced to hold off a Hope comeback charge. With 14 minutes remaining, Hope's Dalton Bruso jumped on a loose ball at the top of box and after a quick move to his left, lashed a shot to the right corner of the net. Calvin freshman goalkeeper Daniel Wunder (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian HS) denied the shot with a sprawling save with the Knights clearing the rebound out of play.
Hope continued to pinch numbers forward in the waning moments but Olson was able to jump on a loose ball and spring Adams free on a long breakaway. Adams made no mistake on the opportunity, slotting home his sixth goal of the season with 1:12 left in regulation.
Calvin finished the match with a 12-11 shots at goal advantage as well as an 8-1 edge in corner kicks. Wunder came up with three key saves for the Knights in goal while McCormick collected four saves for the Flying Dutchmen.
COACHES COMMENT: "That's a really good Hope team and this is an exceptionally difficult place to win a game at," said Calvin men's soccer coach Ryan Souders. "When we moved the ball we created some things. To get a goal early in each half was huge. We had lots of different guys step up. Daniel Wunder came up huge. He used that big paw (with 14 minutes left) to keep it 2-1. Objectively, it's what you want from a Rivalry game. On my side, it was heart rate and blood pressure a little higher than what I would have liked."
NEXT UP: Calvin will host Trine Saturday night at 7 p.m. as part of a women's/men's home doubleheader. The Calvin women's soccer team will host Hope at 4:30 followed by the men's game against Trine.