ST. LOUIS. -- Calvin traveled to St. Louis for an NCAA tournament first-round contest against a familiar foe on Friday evening. Calvin was matched up against the Spartans of Aurora for the second year in a row, a Spartan squad whom Calvin defeated 1-0 in overtime last season. In a game eerily similar to a year ago, the Knights once again defeated Aurora 1-0 -- this time in double overtime. For the second consecutive year, the game-winning overtime goal also came off the foot of Calvin’s Paige Capel.
On Friday night, the first half was largely played in the Spartan’s favor.
With just more than five minutes remaining in the first half, Aurora had a good chance on net that was tipped just wide by a diving Ashton Hearn.
Aurora held a 12-3 shots advantage in the opening period, and at the end of regulation, Aurora’s shot margin had increased to 22-8. Both teams entered the contest undefeated in overtime play, with the Knights coming in at 3-0-2 and Aurora at 3-0-0.
Drost had a strong opportunity in the 93rd minute, trying to beat the keeper near post but the shot was saved. The first overtime passed without a ball finding the back of the net.
The second overtime then provided what was seemingly a moment of deja vu for the Knights. Senior Heidi Scholten sent a ball to Capel past the Aurora defense. Gaining just a half step on her defender and letting the ball settle to her left foot, Capel rocketed a shot from the middle of the box past the Spartan keeper top shelf to end the game on a golden goal, just as she had last year, for a 1-0 Calvin victory.
The Knights were outshot by the Spartans 26-11. Ashton Hearn made nine saves in net to earn the shutout -- the 33rd of her career.
The win is also the 200th in the career of head coach Mark Recker, in his 13th season at the helm of the women’s soccer program. Recker now has a collegiate record of 200-54-20 for a winning percentage of .752.
“For the most part, Ashton and our defense limited the type of looks their offense could get, and that was key for us,” Recker said. “Our defense has been stingy all year and they just continue to be stingy. I wouldn’t have wanted to celebrate my 200th win with any other team. My hats off to the players because they play passionately and they battle every minute.”
Calvin advances to the second round where it will face host Washington (Mo.), the top-ranked team in the country.
“I think [Saturday] will be an endurance game, and the sad thing for us is we had to play into double overtime,” Recker said. “We have a chance to play two number ones in a season. [Saturday] will be a real challenge for us, but this team continues to surprise everyone.”