College Players Look to Capitalize
It’s tournament time in collegiate soccer, and a number of Grand Rapids FC players have helped their respective collegiate squads to postseason berths. Let’s catch up with the GRFC players to see where they stand in their search for a NCAA national championship.
The Bulldogs of Butler University claimed the Big East Tournament conference championship this past weekend, defeating Creighton University 2-1, earning a berth in the NCAA Division I tournament. Sophomore Jared Timmerfinished the regular season with nine assists, leading the Big East Conference. For his efforts, Timmer was named to the All-Big East First Team. The Bulldogs, 13-5-1, earned a first round bye in the NCAA Tournament and await the winner of Michigan State-Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville. Butler’s second-round match-up will be played on Sunday, November 20 at 2 pm in Indianapolis.
In Division III, Calvin College is already in the midst of an NCAA tournament run. The Knights have won two tournament matches, defeating both Ohio Northern and Carnegie Mellon by identical 1-0 scorelines. Senior midfielder Stephan Hooker finished the regular season with eight goals and three assists, earning MIAA MVP honors while also being named First Team All-MIAA. Senior midfielder Isky Van Doorne had six goals and three assists, also earning All-MIAA First Team honors. Sophomore defender Trent Vegter also claimed All-MIAA First Team accolades, tallying four goals and seven assists during the regular season. Calvin, now 20-2-0, will face undefeated Messiah College in third round action on Friday, November 18, with the match being played in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.
The Golden Eagles of Cornerstone University completed their season just over a week ago, falling to Marygrove College 4-3 (2OT) in the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference Tournament. Senior goalkeeper Dary DeWaltcompleted the year with a 6-3-2 record in 11 starts for Cornerstone, tallying five shutouts. The Golden Eagles finished 11-6-2 overall.
Michigan State University
Sophomore Hunter Barone and the Michigan State Spartans fell to the top team in Division I, the University of Maryland, in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament this past Friday. Despite losing in the conference tournament, MSU, with a 13-5-1 record, earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament and will face off against Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville on Thursday, November 17 in first-round action. The game will be played in East Lansing at DeMartin Stadium with opening kick set for 1 pm.
Midwestern State University
Another GRFC player that has already begun a run at a national title is senior goalkeeper Noah Fazekas with Midwestern State University. After a regular season in which Fazekas earned 11 shutouts in 20 matches, Midwestern State advanced to the Heartland Conference tournament final but fell to St. Edwards University. Still, Midwestern State earned a two-seed in the Division II NCAA tournament. The Mustangs had a first-round bye then defeated Colorado Mesa University 1-0 in second-round action. Midwestern State, now 17-3-1, advances to face conference foe St. Edwards University for the third time this season on Thursday, November 17, having split the first two match-ups of the year. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 pm (CT).
University at Buffalo
The Bulls of the University at Buffalo fell just short of the NCAA Tournament, falling to the Akron Zips in the Mid-American Conference Tournament championship match. Junior Scott Doney completed the season with one goal and one assist, playing in 19 matches while starting six. The Bulls completed the year with an overall record of 12-4-3.
University of California-Santa Barbara
Despite claiming the top seed for the Big West Conference Tournament, the Gauchos of UCSB fell to fourth-seed Cal State Fullerton in the semifinals and were not given an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, ending their season. Sophomore Kosti Moni finished the season with 13 appearances for UC-Santa Barbara as the Gauchos went 10-7-3 on the year.
University of Michigan
Much like their rivals in East Lansing, the University of Michigan Wolverines were knocked out of the Big Ten Conference Tournament by #1 University of Maryland. Michigan played the Terrapins into double overtime for the second time in three games, eventually falling 3-2 as its season came to a close. Sophomore Peter Brown finished the season with 13 appearances and 10 starts for the Wolverines. Michigan ended the season with a 4-11-4 record.
Western Michigan University
The Broncos of Western Michigan completed their season last Friday, falling to Akron in the MAC Tournament semifinals. Freshman Anthony Bowie ended the year with two goals and two assists, making 14 appearances and starting eight matches. Sophomore Nate Hoover made fifteen appearances during the season, starting six matches and tallying one goal and three assists. Sophomore Cam Sipple had one goal and two assists in 19 appearances, which included six starts. Redshirt freshman Alex Ruddock was an anchor of the back line for WMU, starting all 19 games. Ruddock added one goal and one assist on the year. Redshirt sophomore Kyle Taalman made two appearances in goal, starting one match, and made nine saves. The Broncos finished the season 9-6-4.