by Alan Babbitt
One cross, amid an early flurry of them, paid big dividends for the Hope College men's soccer team.
The Flying Dutchmen finished the regular season with a 13-5 overall record and a second-place 6-1 mark against Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association opponents.
Hope advanced to the MIAA Tournament as the No. 2 seed. The Flying Dutchmen earned a first-round bye and will host a Wednesday, November 6 semifinal against either Kalamazoo College or Trine University.
Head coach Dave Brandt said his team proved dangerous most of the first half with scoring chances off of crosses.
"We honestly could have had a couple more. It would have changed the complexion of the game" Brandt said. "It kept it tight. Adrian did a good job of staying in the game. We didn't respond by getting a couple more."
Bylsma recorded his team-leading 13th goal of the season in the eighth minute. The senior forward from Hudsonville, Michigan (Hudsonville) slid to deflect a cross from Belcastro into the right corner of the Adrian goal.
Belcastro, a sophomore forward from Washington, Pennsylvania (Kiski School), notched his sixth of the season. He passed the ball from the far sideline.
Hope outshot Adrian by a 16-10 margin and produced seven more corner kicks.
The Flying Dutchmen posted their 10th shutout of the season.
Senior goalkeeper Blair McCormick of Wadsworth, Illinois (Warren Township) made five saves against Adrian (11-6-1, 3-3-1 MIAA). The Bulldogs will be seeded fourth for the MIAA Tournament.
Hope now begins preparations for postseason play.
"You've got to be good at both ends. Teams that are will advance," Brandt said. "Hopefully, we can do that moving forward."