By Mark DeHaan
Calvin women's lacrosse hosted the Belles of Saint Mary's on Tuesday afternoon at Zuidema Field. Tuesday was also Senior Day for the Knights, who honored four seniors in Michelle Holwerda (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian HS), Mary Hoogstra (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian HS), Christina Howell (Dexter/Washtenaw Christian Academy) and Lauren Spoelstra (Oakdale, NJ/Eastern Christian HS).
Receiving contributions from all of the seniors, Calvin played strong defense in allowing only four goals to the Belles, and the Knights claimed a 15-4 victory on Senior Day. The victory clinches a spot in next week's four-team MIAA Tournament for Calvin.
Freshman Audrey Grabowski (East Grand Rapids/East Grand Rapids HS) scored the opening goal just 19 seconds in the game on a feed from Holwerda.
Two straight goals by junior Nikita Blaauwendraat (Princeport, Nova Scotia/Cobequid Educational Centre) then brought the Calvin lead to 3-0 with 22:45 to go in the first half.
The Belles scored their first goal of the game with 21:30 remaining, a goal which was quickly answered by Holwerda on a pass from Grabowski.
The Knights then added four more goals, two from Grabwoski, to build an 8-1 advantage before the next Saint Mary's goal with 6:59 to go.
Calvin scored one more goal during the remainder of the half, and the Knights took a 9-2 lead into halftime.
Out of the break, the Knights scored the opening four goals of the second half to expand their lead to double digits at 13-2 with 17:31 remaining in the game.
Two quick goals by the Belles then cut Calvin's advantage to single digits at 13-4 with 11:01 to go, but shut-down defense allowed the the Knights to keep the Belles scoreless the rest of the way, all the while adding two goals, as Calvin claimed a 15-4 victory.
Calvin outshot Saint Mary's 33-7 for the contest while also holding a 49-24 advantage in ground balls.
Offensively, Grabowski scored four goals and had one assist while Holwerda scored two and added five assists to lead the Knights. Hoogstra scored a goal and had eight ground balls, Howell added an assist, and Spoelstra made one save in net for Calvin.
The Belles were paced by Aubrey Golembieski, who scored three goals while Lauren Telford had one.
"We have an outstanding group of seniors, and they all lead in their own way. Overall, I'm happy with the performance of everybody, but the seniors played really well today," said head coach Blake Boehm. "Thursday against Alma is going to be a big game. We're going to have to be firing all cylinders and make sure that we're doing our homework. It's a matter of us coming out, being prepared, but also being aggressive and knowing what jobs need to be done."
Calvin improves to 8-4 and 5-1 in the MIAA with the win, while Saint Mary's falls to 2-11 and 1-5 in league play.
The Knights now look forward to a very important matchup with Alma College on Thursday. Both teams are currently 5-1 in the MIAA and tied for second place. Thursday's contest is scheduled for a start time of 4:00 p.m.
Women's Lacrosse Clinches MIAA Tournament Playoff Spot with 15-4 Win Over Saint Mary's
By Mark DeHaan