by Eva Dean Folkert
The Hope College men's soccer team posted a dominating non-league win over Greenville (Ill.) University on Friday night, defeating the Panthers, 5-0, at the Battle on the Border hosted by Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
The Flying Dutchmen, now 5-2, made good on opportunities when they had them, converting 83% of their shots on goal (5-for-6) while taking 11 total shots to Greenville's three. That last stat is as much a testament to Hope's defense as its offense. The shutout win is the fourth by the Flying Dutchmen this season.
"It's a more integrated approach," said head coach Dave Brandt. "To be honest, our pressure up front just set them off and kept them from building anything. I thought our back four did a good job, but they also had less to deal with because of our pressure up front defensively."
In the first half, sophomore forward Alec Belcastro of Washington, Penn. (The Kiski School) opened the scoring with a goal off a free kick at the 11:15 mark. Seven minutes and 45 seconds later, senior forward Logan Bylsma of Hudsonville (Hudsonville HS) also scored unassisted on a rebound off the goalie. It was Bylsma's fifth goal this season.
Sophomore Caleb Schoon of Ludington (Ludington HS) completed the first half scoring by taking an assist from freshman defender Jackson Strabel of Grand Rapids (East Kentwood HS) and burying a goal at the 33:54 mark. It was Schoon's third goal this season and Strabel's first assist.
At half, Hope led, 3-0. But that score wouldn't last long.
Just 19 seconds into the second half, Belcastro struck again for his second goal of the game, capitalizing on an assist delivered by sophomore midfielder Ryan Flynn of Bloomington, Ill. (Bloomington HS). With that, Belcastro joined Bylsma in leading the Flying Dutchmen in goals this season with five.
Finally, midfielder Isaac Braak of Grand Haven (Grand Haven HS), pictured right, capped off Hope's scoring. The senior chipped in his first goal this year, scored at the 59:11 mark. Freshman midfielder Nic Kubert of Farmington Hills (Avondale HS) was credited with the assist, his third overall.
In corners, Hope owned a 7-1 advantage.
The Flying Dutchmen return to action tomorrow, Saturday, September 21, taking on host Carthage at 7 p.m. Central.