The lead for the Hope College men's lacrosse team swiftly had been chopped down from six goals at the start of the final period to a meager one. The Rivalry quickly introduced itself to a young group of Flying Dutchmen.
Hope rose to the challenge, fending off two Calvin possessions before reeling off four unanswered goals to secure a 14-9 win on Wednesday at Van Andel Soccer Stadium.
The victory did not count toward the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association but still raised the Flying Dutchmen's record to 5-2 overall. Calvin dropped to 3-5.
Hope coach Michael Schanhals said his team learned a valuable lesson from Calvin's comeback attempt.
"They got a little bit of momentum, and hey, it's a rivalry game. You have to manage momentum, and as a young team, we have to learn that," Schanhals said. "For 20 of our guys, this is their first Hope-Calvin experience. It was a good one, a good game. It was fun."
Sophomore Gino Battaglia of Lebanon, Ohio (Lebanon) stopped Calvin's five-goal run by scoring with 2 minutes, 42 seconds remaining in regulation.
Freshman Max Kuiper of Grand Rapids, Michigan (Forest Hills Central), freshman Nathaniel Hentschel of Spring Lake, Michigan (Spring Lake) and freshman Rocco Mularoni of Hartland, Michigan (Detroit Catholic Central) also scored to follow Battaglia's momentum-turning goal.
There were plenty of valuable lessons out on the field, Schanhals said.
"I think we need to execute our systems better, as a team. We need to manage the tempo of the game a little bit more effectively. Communicate a little bit better, when the ball is on the ground, you know, 'Who's boxing out, who's got the ball,' Schanhals said. "Just tighten things up a little bit as a team, from a team standpoint.
"All of these guys are good players, all of these guys play hard. They all love playing with one another and that's the best part about it. Cut down on some of the execution errors and we'll be in good shape, and we're fired up for the conference season."
Mularoni finished with a match-high five goals for the Flying Dutchmen.
Senior Gunnar Elder of East Grand Rapids, Michigan (East Grand Rapids) chipped in three goals to go along with a match-high four assists.
Freshman goalie Nick Schanhals of North Muskegon, Michigan (North Muskegon) made 12 saves for the win. He allowed six goals.
Calvin was led by three goals from Chris Schaefer, and two goals and three assists by Chris Griffin.
First-year Calvin coach Dave Hoger was pleased with how his team responded after falling behind early. The Knights trailed 7-2 after two periods.
"I told the guys at halftime, 'We just need to chip away one at a time. We have to worry about the next play.' We got down and weren't making some of the plays we normally make,' Hoger said. "We had to battle back. We started doing that. We had a couple of goals scored on us in the beginning of the second half, but we started fighting back. We started chipping away.
"We came up a little short at the end, but I was really proud of the effort our guys put forth."