GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Calvin clinched the MIAA Tournament Championship with a 4-3 shootout victory over rival Hope on Saturday night at Zuidema Field.
The game concludes in 0-0 double-overtime time but with the shootout victory, Calvin captures its sixth straight MIAA Tournament title and is headed to the NCAA III Tournament for the 12th time in 13 years including the seventh time under current head coach Ryan Souders.
The first half of Saturday's match was a very physical with some close shot attempts. Calvin (19-1 overall) out shot Hope (14-5-1 overall) in the first half 5-3 and had the advantage on corner kicks as well 2-0.
The second half continued with a battle for possession with the Knights controlling the ball for long stretches of play but were unable to find space against a Hope defense that clogged the defensive third of the field.
Neither team was able to squeeze off a shot in the opening overtime. Calvin outshot Hope 3-1 in the second overtime but the Flying Dutchmen came close to getting the winner on a break on goal by Logan Bylsma with Bylma's shot sliding over the bar after Calvin junior goalkeeper Chris Morrish (Bradenton, Fla./Saint Stephen's Episcopal HS) came charging off his line on the play to cut down the angle.
Hope took an early 1-0 lead in the shootout on a converted penalty and a saved attempt by Hope goalkeeper Joey Weber. Junior Chris Morrish (Brandenton, FL/ Saint Stephen's Episcopal) came up clutch for the Knights by getting two saves during the shootout. Calvin meanwhile converted four straight penalties with the final coming from senior Hunter Olson (Canton, Mich./ Canton) that allowed the Knights to win the shootout 4-3.
Calvin has now won its last two shootouts in MIAA Tournament finals. Hope defeated Calvin 5-4 in the 2013 MIAA Tournament Final in 2013 with the Knights defeating Kalamazoo 8-7 in the 2014 MIAA Tournament Final.
COACHES COMMENT: "Just a really gritty effort by our guys," said Calvin head men's soccer coach Ryan Souders. "I thought every member of our team found a way to contribute through either encouragement or play on the field. Hope is a terrific team and they are vastly improved from the first time we played them this year. They made things difficult on us and in my mind they're an NCAA III Tournament team. To our credit we found a way to get the shootout win. Chris saved our bacon with a couple of huge saves and our penalty takers executed extremely well. Even the penalty that was saved by Hope was a strong penalty. It was just a stronger save by Jordan Hooker. It feels good knowing that we will hear our name on selection day on Monday. We'll enjoy this one, heal up a bit and get ready for next week."
UP NEXT: Calvin awaits the NCAA Selection Show on Monday to find out where they play in the NCAA Tournament. The selection pairings will be announced on Monday at 1:30 p.m. on NCAA.com.