The Calvin men’s soccer team improved to 7-2 and jumped 10 spots to BR-10 in the HeroSports D3 Men’s Soccer rankings.
The Knights have won seven consecutive matches after losing two to start the season. They didn’t earn their first win a year ago until their fifth outing of the season. Calvin leads the Michigian Intercollegiate Athletic Association standings. They seek their seventh straight league championship.
While they started slowly a year ago, the Knights don’t want to repeat their 14-5-1 overall finish from 2013. The mark wasn’t good enough to get them into the NCAA Division III tournament after losing to Hope in the MIAA Tournament championship match.
“I think the way our season began and the way our season ended has really provided motivation for our team this season,” said Calvin head coach Ryan Souders who is in his third season at the helm of the Knights. “I think the lesson learned is that everyone has to come into pre-season training camp with a high fitness level and mentally ready to go. It took our team some time to find our stride.”
Calvin midfielder Taylor Pruis was named MIAA Offensive Player of the Week. The junior from Grand Rapids, Michigan scored a goal in each of the Knights’ two wins that left them in sole possession of first place. One of the wins came against previously highly-rated Hope, 4-1.
Pruis was the second-leading scorer from a year ago. He tallied five goals and 17 assists for 27 points. His assist total was a Calvin single-season record. Pruis was a first team all-MIAA selection and later named to the NSCAA All-Central Region first team. He entered this season ranked fifth on the Calvin career list in assists (25).
Senior Travis Vegter leads Calvin with 12 goals, five assists and 29 points. He has been a catalyst in turning around another slow start for the Knights.
“I think this team has a great deal of potential,” said Souders. “We had a very good spring (non-traditional practice) season. Our early games will present immediate tests for our team. I think our league will be very challenging once again with any team capable of knocking you off. Any team can knock you off on a given day. That’s been proven in the last couple of seasons.”