A Small Step

A Small Step

HOLLAND, Mich. – Head Coach Wytse Molenaar went into Saturday believing Albion College had to win two of its three remaining contests to have a chance to qualify for the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Tournament.

The Britons picked up one of those wins Saturday as Erik Vanfossen scored and Justin Kraft collected four saves in a 1-0 victory at Hope College.

The victory gives Albion its first sweep of the season series against Hope since 2007, and helped by Adrian's 2-1 result over Kalamazoo vaulted the Britons into fourth place in the league standings as the teams head into the final week of the regular season.

Shots were 5-4 in favor of Albion in the first half, but Hope took the first four attempts of the second half.  Jared Wondergem and James Reymann forced Kraft to make saves.

It took Albion just 53 seconds to counter off a Hope corner kick as defender Colin Howard played a ball high into the box. Vanfossen headed the ball to the ground and the ball slipped into the corner for the only score of the contest.

"We had more edge in this game than the previous two because we are playing to stay alive," Molenaar said of the Britons quest to finish among the league's top four teams for a berth in the tournament. "This was a mini step on the way to that.

"They came out stronger than we did at the start of the second half and put some pressure on us, for sure," Molenaar added. "It was a great break (in transition leading to the goal)."

Albion was in control for the final half hour of the match. Bobby Budlong generated three shots, placing two on goal, and the Britons were awarded a pair of corner kicks. Hope got one shot from Dalton Bruso, but it sailed high.

Albion, 8-8 overall and 7-5 against MIAA rivals, will recognize the senior members of the team Tuesday when the Britons challenge the nationally ranked side from Calvin College for a 7 p.m. game at the Davis Athletic Complex.

Albion completes the regular season at Kalamazoo next Saturday.

"The road during the final week of the regular season will be really tough," Molenaar said. "All we can do is take it one day at a time."