by Alan Babbitt
Persistence paid off for the Hope College men's soccer team against the second-place team in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association standings.
The Flying Dutchmen earned a 4-1 win against Adrian College on Wednesday at Van Andel Soccer Stadium by erupting for four second-half goals in the regular-season finale.
Hope (13-2-1 overall) rebounded from a 1-0 loss at Trine University on Saturday with its highest-scoring game against Adrian since a 4-0 victory in 2011.
The Flying Dutchmen finished with a 4-2-1 league record and will be the fourth seed for the MIAA Tournament. Hope will host fifth-seeded Kalamazoo College on Saturday, October 27 at 7 p.m. at Van Andel Soccer Stadium.
"We're taking it one game at a time," head coach Dave Brandt said. "We lost a couple we shouldn't have, so hopefully the team is hungry and we can get a couple more wins."
Against Adrian (8-6, 5-3 MIAA), Hope dominated play from the opening kickoff and outshot the Bulldogs 23-3. There was no score at halftime, even though the Flying Dutchmen recorded 11 of the first half's 12 shots.
On the first shot of the second half, Hope's fortunes changed. Junior forward Logan Bylsma of Hudsonville, Michigan (Hudsonville HS), pictured above middle, ripped a right-footed shot from just inside the penalty box for a 1-0 lead.
Five-and-a-half minutes later, senior forward Christian Dault of Grand Haven, Michigan (Grand Haven), pictured above right, buried a failed Adrian clearing attempt into the left corner of the net for his seventh goal of the season. He matched his career-high.
Senior defender Steve Binnig of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (North Allegheny), pictured above left, struck 5 ½ minutes later with his first career goal. He scored after a corner kick bounced off teammate Isaac Braak of Grand Haven, Michigan (Grand Haven) and landed at his feet.
Bylsma pushed Hope's lead to 4-0 with 22:28 remaining after winning a loose ball on a break and flipping a left-footed shot underneath the Adrian goalie.
It was Bylsma's 13th goal of the season — the most by a Hope player since Dan Tresselar's 15 in 2007.
"It was hard to buy chances. They're a good team and a good team defensively," Brandt said. "We did carry the play but creating chances is the toughest thing in soccer. We kept at it and gave ourselves a few more chances."