ADRIAN, Mich. – The men's soccer team (6-12-1, 4-8-1) extended their home undefeated streak to five games with a come from behind double overtime, 2-2 tie, to nationally-ranked Calvin College (13-3-1, 11-1-1) Saturday afternoon and now has a tie and win against two nationally-ranked opponents in the past week.
Of the Bulldogs' last six opponents, only the MIAA champion Knights could find a way to score more than one goal against a tough defensive Bulldog team led by a solid defensive core and senior Dillon Wilde.
The Bulldogs snapped Calvin's 12-game winning streak and became only one of two MIAA teams to get a point from the Knights this season. Calvin is currently ranked No. 24 by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America and are last year's NCAA Division III national champion runner-ups.
In all, the Bulldogs were almost flawless at home in October, while taking points from two nationally-ranked teams, as well as the top-three in the MIAA, with two wins and today's tie.
"I'm obviously proud of the team and our seniors today, especially when I think back to all the time and dedication they've put in over the years" said head men's soccer coach Chris LeFevre. "What we have accomplished recently only validates that we can compete with the top teams and proves that our goals and expectations are realistic."
"It was such a great way for Travis Smith to go out with a huge goal for us today, especially because of the amount of work he puts in that isn't shown in any statistical sheet. Also, Dillon Wilde is a senior who I have seen raise his defensive skills to another level over the years he has been here, and to see him play his last home game at the top of his game was very special," said LeFevre.
On Smith's goal, Pat Bradley played a very good service off a set piece into the box where Smith was able to flick it onto the right side of the goal and put Adrian up 1-0 with less than five minutes remaining in the first half.
The Knights came back with two goals in the second half and took the lead with just under seven minutes left to play.
But again it was Smith who started the play that would tie the game less than a minute later. Smith found Ryan McCarthy on the right side, where he played a back-post service to Nick Minshall. Minshall headed it down the right side of the net for his team-leading ninth goal of the season to send the contest into overtime.
It was quite a day for the team. After extending their home unbeaten streak against Calvin, the men's soccer team was honored at halftime of the Bulldogs' football game.
The Pathways to Excellence Award, by gift of the Shaffer family, was presented to the team in recognition of having the highest grade point average improvement of any varsity team in an academic year's timespan.
When asked to comment about his seniors on Senior Day, Coach LeFevre said, "I'd like to thank the seniors for their dedication, commitment and time over the past four years. They gave everything willingly. I don't think they thought four years ago that we would endure all that we have within this program, but I honestly think that it has made us all stronger in who we are as individuals, and also has ensured that this program succeeds the right way with the right people. They have played a tremendous role in making sure this program stabilizes and reaches the goals that were set out when we began four years ago. Thank you."
The Bulldogs look to finish out the season with a road victory at Albion that would place them one spot out of a playoff berth.