Hope College’s Women’s soccer complete well earned comeback to secure a place in NCAA Tournament
The Hope College Women’s soccer team has one thing in common with Chelsea FC’s attack force this season: they’re both unstoppable. Great comebacks in games are unique things that fans of the game look forward to seeing, and the Hope women’s team definitely treated the home crowd to a well fought one, on a clear sunny Saturday afternoon.
The team came back from a deficit twice and took the game with a score of 4-2 against Alma College. The first goal came from Alma’s Megan Kalanik, who received a well-placed pass in the opposing 18’ box. She slotted it in to the right to give Alma an early lead in the third minute of the first half.
Hope responded twenty minutes later, when Elizabeth Perkins (’17) took a well struck volley in the box off a deflected corner kick. After the delivery, it was headed down by Kendall Dice (’17) and the ball then landed on Perkins’ right foot for the finish. The opposing goalie had no chance to keep a hand on the captain’s shot.
A few minutes later, through more adversity, Alma’s Whitnee Footee scored a “cut and paste” goal to give Alma another one goal lead. Closely after, in the thirty-first minute, Natalie Curry (’17), the other captain, equalized to put Hope in a good place mentally going into the second half. From a deflected pass, she controlled the ball, sent the defender sliding away, got it on her right foot and placed it into the right side netting for a clinical finish. The two skippers here had done well leading by example and showing the team how it’s done.
Coming into the second forty-five minutes of play, Erin Brophy (’18) gave Hope the lead in the sixty-fifth minute of the game as she scored the third goal for Hope. She made a great run, beating the defenders with her pace and then had the time and composure to curl in a finesse shot to the far left side netting.
Finally, Perkins scored the fourth goal of the game. She completed her well-earned brace by heading in the ball off a well delivered corner to give Hope a two goal lead. With good defense being played in the rest of the game, Hope closed out to take the MIAA trophy and advance to the NCAA division III tournament.
Hope generally outperformed the Alma side in a few areas of the game. Hope had seventeen total shot attempts, with ten of them on mark for goal. Alma on the other hand had four shots and all four of those were on goal. Hope’s goalie, Mary Clare Theis (’18) had a total of two saves while the Alma stopper had a total of six saves, as a result of more attempts. Alma had seven fouls in the period of ninety, while Hope had a total of three offences. Alma had three corner kicks in the game while Hope had a total of eight corner kicks, with two that led to a goal either directly or indirectly.
During her post-match interview, Brophy who got herself a goal said, “It feels so great, we’re all so ecstatic. Honestly, we are just looking forward to another good week of practice. We’ve come a long way this season, with ups and downs but we have really pulled out through the last few weeks.” She went on to say, “This is what we’ve been working for this whole season, so to travel with this team is going to be so fun.”
This will be Hope College’s fifth appearance in the NCAA Tournament and second appearance in a period of three years. Hope (15-3-2 overall) will be playing Lynchburg College at Thomas More College, at Crestview Hills in Kentucky, where they will be looking to come out on top in the first round of the NCAA Division III Championship tournament. The game will be on Nov. 11.
The Coaching staff, players and certainly the Hope College community as a whole has nothing but high hopes, faith and belief that they will do well in the tournament.
Make sure you keep an ear to the ground in anticipation of how the team does, moving forward in the first round of the NCAA competition.