By Mark DeHaan
With a spot in the MIAA Tournament already secured, the Calvin women's lacrosse program traveled to Alma with hopes of hosting a first round matchup, a scenario that would happen with a victory over the Scots. Calvin and Alma entered the contest with 5-1 league records and tied for second place in the MIAA.
Unfortunately for the Knights, a run at the end of the first half by the Scots put the home team up five goals at halftime, a deficit which proved to be too much as Calvin fell to Alma, 16-14.
The Scots were first to get on the board as they scored just over a minute into the contest, but junior Lissa Busscher responded quickly for the Knights to tie the game at 1-1 with 28:05 to go in the first half.
After eight scoreless minutes, junior Paige Noordyke scored a goal to put Calvin up 2-1, a lead that was held for less than a minute as Tracy Gallihugh responded for Alma.
Back-to-back goals by Noordyke and freshman Audrey Grabowski put the Knights up 4-2 midway through the first half, but Gallihugh netted four goals and Alma's Ashton Street scored another over the next seven minutes as the Scots took a 7-4 lead with 7:12 left in the first.
Over the remaining time in the first half, Alma continued its scoring surge, and at half time, the Scots held an 11-6 lead.
Alma outshot Calvin 19-16 in the opening half, forcing the Knights into six turnovers.
Out of the break, Busscher scored on a pass from senior Michelle Holwerda and junior Karissa Reed scored to cut the Alma lead to 11-8.
Again, the Scots cut the Knights rally short, scoring two goals to expand their lead back to five at 13-8.
Over the next eight minutes, a 5-2 run by Calvin, including three goals from Grabowski, put the Knights within striking distance at 15-13 with 7:38 remaining in regulation.
Calvin got just one goal over the remaining time, however, as did Alma, and the Scots beat the Knights 16-14 in a hard-fought matchup.
Calvin outshot Alma 33-29 for the contest while also holding a 36-22 advantage in ground balls.
Grabowski paced the Knights with five goals while Reed added four. Holwerda had three assists on the afternoon.
For the Scots, Gallihugh had eight goals and an assist while Ashton Street scored three goals. Alma keeper Stephanie Herman made seven key saves in net.
"At halftime we said we had a hole to dig ourselves out of and we had to win the half because we lost the first half. For the most part we were able to do that, and I'm happy with the way we played in the second half," said head coach Blake Boehm. "We have to be better at shot placement and winning the middle of the field – this game was very much decided by who had possession, and for a good part of the end of the first half, they were winning possessions and we were not."
With the loss, the Knights fall to 8-5 and 5-2 in the MIAA, while Alma improves to 11-5 and 6-1 in conference play.
Calvin now looks forward to Saturday when it will travel to Kalamazoo to face the Hornets at 1 p.m.
With a win, the Knights will be the third seed in the MIAA Tournament, while a loss could drop Calvin to the fourth seed.
Women's Lacrosse Falls 16-14 at Alma
By Mark DeHaan