Grace Bubin readied herself when a foul call gave her Hope College women's soccer team a scoring opportunity. She's learned to be in position when the ball gets placed at teammate Kristen Marsman's feet.
The junior forward from Rockford, Michigan (Rockford HS) buried a rebound off Marsman's free kick early in the first half against Calvin College on Wednesday at Van Andel Soccer Stadium. The goal stood up in a 1-0 victory for the nationally ranked Flying Dutch in the semifinals of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Tournament.
Hope (17-2-1 overall) advanced to Saturday's championship match against visiting Olivet College. Kickoff is noon.
"Kristen has pretty reliable free kicks. She always hits that top area. The keeper has to get a finger on it or it's going to hit the post," Bubin said of her team-leading 11th goal of the season that came seven minutes, four seconds into the match. It was the third assist of the season for Marsman, a junior from Holland, Michigan (Holland Christian).
"Our coach says follow everything. No one followed me and everything went in."
The Knights finished the season with a 12-9 record.
"I was very pleased with our performance tonight," Calvin coach Mark Recker said. "I could not ask for anything more than what our team gave tonight. We played with passion and enthusiasm and at times had Hope on its heels a little bit. We were just unable to overcome the early goal. Credit Hope with the win."
Calvin limited the MIAA's top-scoring team to a 9-8 edge in shots and a 5-2 margin in shots on goal. Goalie Amy Kliewer made four saves for the Knights.
Hope's defense rose to the occasion with its 15th shutout of the season.
The Flying Dutch matched their school records for shutouts in a season from 2003 and 2005.
Freshman Jordanne Ellingboe of Grand Haven, Michigan (Grand Haven) collected two saves for her 12th shutout. She has the third most number of shutouts in a season among Hope goalies — trailing Holly Nestle (15 in 2005 and 2003) and Mary Clare Theis (13 in 2015).
"(Calvin) threw everything at us. They did well," Hope coach Leigh Sears, referring to her defensive group that includes the likes of Marsman, junior Eliza Beird of Holland, Michigan (Black River), junior Morgan Buursma of Grandville, Michigan (Calvin Christian), and freshman Corinne Cole of St. Paul, Minnesota (Eastview) in front of Ellingboe.
Second-seeded Olivet (13-6-1) advanced to meet Hope after topping Adrian College 5-4 in penalty kicks. The two teams played to a scoreless draw in 110 minutes of regulation and overtime play.