The women's soccer program had never defeated a nationally-ranked team until Saturday when they bested No. 17 Calvin College by the final of 1-0 at Docking Stadium. It was a win that avenged a 5-1 defeat in Grand Rapids earlier this season and secured the Bulldogs a spot in the upcoming MIAA Tournament.
"It was nice to get this win and breathe easier knowing we have a spot in the top four," said head coach Ali Alamdari. "We were without two of our top players today, but still maintained a high level of play and executed our gameplan against a great team."
The Bulldogs were without the services of starting goalkeeper Lexi Lewandowski but her fellow sophomore Taylor Royce stepped up big time making six saves in her first win of the season in net. Royce made two fantastic saves in particular to keep the game scoreless and allow Adrian to pull out the win. She stopped a laser shot from Kelly Koets with an all-out dive to the right post in the first half and stopped a breakaway attempt by Paige Rindels in the second half.
"We saw the entire team commit to their individual roles and the rest fell into place," said Alamdari. "We've always felt that we have one of the strongest groups of keepers in the region and Taylor really showed up today in a tough situation."
The match was scoreless until the 81:18 mark when Adrian's dynamic duo of Sam Barker and Erin Weide put together a masterpiece. Weide took the ball middle of the field and delivered a pass in stride to Barker who carried for about 10 yards before putting it past Ashton Hearn in the lower left corner from about 10 yards out. Barker's 13th of the season was all that was needed on a cold and windy day.
The victory snapped a four-match losing streak to the Knights and gave Adrian 30 points in the conference standings which currently ties them for third place with Alma College. The Scots fell to Hope on Saturday and will host the Bulldogs in another key matchup on October 30. It was the first loss for Calvin since September 9 at Alma. Adrian improved to 12-5, 10-4 in the MIAA while Calvin falls to 13-2-2, 10-2-1 in the MIAA.