ALMA - The Calvin women's lacrosse team saw its season come to an end on Wednesday afternoon as the Knights were defeated by the host Alma Scots 15-8 in an MIAA Tournament semifinal game.
Wednesday marked Calvin's first-ever appearance in the MIAA Tournament. Calvin hung right with the Scots for most of the game but could never get over the hump and gain the lead.
Calvin (9-6) squeezed off the first four shots of the game but Alma (13-5) fired in the first four goals to take a 4-0 lead 10 minutes in.
Calvin clawed its way back as freshman Audrey Grabowski (East Grand Rapids/East Grand Rapids HS) scored to make it 4-1.
Alma went back up 5-1 but the Knights countered with four unanswered goals as freshman Emily Cefaratti (Hinsdale, IL/Hinsdale Central HS), junior Lissa Busscher (Holland/Holland Christian HS), senior Michelle Holwerda (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian HS) and junior Karissa Reed (Greenville/Greenville HS) all scored to tie the game 5-5.
Alma countered with a goal inside the final minute of the first half to take a 6-5 halftime lead.
The Scots grabbed the early momentum in the second half with a pair of quick goals to take an 8-5 lead but goals by Grabowski and Cefarrati brought Calvin to within 8-7.
From there, Alma took control, scoring six unanswered goals to take a commanding 14-7 lead. Both teams added one additional tally with Reed scoring her second goal of the game for Calvin to bring the final score to 15-8.
"I said all along that the team that controls the middle of the field will be the team that wins the game and that's how this game played out," said Calvin women's lacrosse coach Blake Boehm. "We just didn't win enough draw controls and we didn't transition well enough to come out on top."
Calvin held a 35-28 shots at goal advantage but Alma was able to convert more than 50 percent of its shot attempts.
Cefaratti, Reed and Grabowski all had two goals apiece with Holwerda and Busscher adding one.
Holwerda had two assists to bring her season total to 35 - a new Calvin single-season record. Grabowski finished with 45 goals on the year while Cefaratti finished with 35 goals - marking the two-highest single-season goal totals in Calvin women's lacrosse history at the varsity level.
Senior goalie Lauren Spoelstra (Oakdale, NJ/Eastern Christian HS) came up with nine saves in her final game in a Calvin uniform.
Spoelstra was one of four Calvin seniors to play in their final collegiate games as Holwerda, senior defender Mary Hoogstra (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian HS) and Christina Howell (Dexter/Washtenaw Christian Academy) all put on the Calvin jersey for the final time on Wednesday.
"Our seniors are the ones who laid the foundation for this program at the varsity level," said Boehm. "Right now we are ahead of where we originally thought we would be when we started as a varsity program last year. We are developing into a strong program and the future is bright. I want to thank our seniors for helping lead the way."
With its win over Calvin, Alma advances to the MIAA Tournament final Friday night at Adrian College to face the host Bulldogs with the winner receiving an automatic bid to the NCAA III Tournament.