Nov. 14, 2009

Courtesy of Calvin

WHEATON, IL—Calvin picked up its first-ever victory at Wheaton and picked the perfect time to do it, defeating the host Thunder 2-1 in a first round NCAA III Tournament game Friday night. With the win, Calvin also completed its first-ever season sweep of its long-time non-conference rival, as the Knights also edged Wheaton 2-1 at Calvin early in September in a regular season game. Wheaton still holds a 38-4-6 series edge against Calvin in men’s soccer.

Calvin (16-4-1) advances to a second round NCAA III Tournament game Saturday night at 6:00 p.m. at Wheaton to face Wartburg (IA). Wartburg (16-4-1) defeated the University of Chicago 2-1 in Friday’s first round game.

The contest will be Calvin’s second meeting against Wartburg in NCAA III Tournament play with Wartburg winning at Calvin 1-0 in overtime in 2004. It will also be a meeting of Knights as both schools share the same nickname.

All of the scoring in the Calvin/Wheaton tilt took place in the second half with Calvin junior striker Brad Heethuis (Jenison/Unity Christian HS) breaking through a goal in the 52nd minute of play, redirecting a cross from junior teammate Scott Hooker (Hudsonville/Unity Christian HS) to put the Knights up 1-0.

Wheaton (14-4-3) came back to knot the score at one on a free kick by Matt Swartz just outside the Calvin box with just under 16 minutes left in regulation.

Calvin answered right back however as senior Alex McKenzie broke free in the 78th minute off a long lead pass from senior Luke Holtrop and sent a shot from 16 yards out that bounced off the fingertips of the Wheaton keeper and just inside the near post to give the Knights a 2-1 lead they would hold. The goal by McKenzie was his team-leading eighth of the season.

Calvin held a 14-10 shots at goal advantage. Junior Ryan Bratt was credited with the win in goal for the Knights.

“To be honest, I did not know we had never won a game here,” said Calvin men’s soccer coach Chris Hughes. “What we were concerned with was winning a first round tournament game. I am so proud of my guys. It was a total team effort, particularly from our seniors. They did not want to see their careers end tonight.”

Friday’s game against Wartburg is slated to start at 7:00 p.m. (EST).