FREELAND, Mich. – Coming off a season that culminated with an appearance in the NCAA Division III Men's Soccer National Championship game, the Calvin men's soccer team was named the unanimous favorite to repeat as Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association champions in 2019. The Knights garnered all seven possible first-place votes in a preseason poll of MIAA men's soccer head coaches.
The preseason poll for MIAA men's soccer awards one point for a first-place vote, two points for a second-place vote, et cetera. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own programs.
Hope ranked second with 17 points, ahead of MIAA Tournament championship game participant Adrian (20 points); Adrian garnered the remaining first-place vote. Trine was predicted to finish fourth (23 points), with Kalamazoo following in fifth with 31 points. Rounding out the poll were Albion (36 points), Alma (42 points), and Olivet (48 points).
Calvin (22-2-0, 7-0-0 in MIAA in 2018) will lean on two-time first-team All-MIAA selections Jacob Lyon (Sr., M, Holt, Mich.) and Hunter Olsen (Sr., M, Canton, Mich.) to control midfield and lead the Knights this fall. Also returning are first-team All-MIAA selections Drew Van Andel (Jr., D, Grand Haven, Mich.), Sam Twigg (So., M, Auckland, New Zealand), and Chris Morrish (Jr., GK, Bradenton, Fla.). Calvin was ranked second in the United Soccer Coaches preseason poll earlier this month.
Hope (14-3-1, 4-2-1 MIAA) looks to continue upward momentum in 2019, as the Flying Dutchmen return two-time first-team All-MIAA honoree Isaac Braak (Sr., M, Grand Haven, Mich.). Hope also features returning second-team All-MIAA selection , a first-team All-MIAA selection last fall, for impact on the attack this season. Joining Braak are second-team All-MIAA honorees Logan Bylsma (Sr., F, Hudsonville, Mich.) and Ty Dalton (Jr., M, Rockford, Mich.).
Adrian (8-8-1, 5-2-0 MIAA) advanced to the MIAA Tournament title game for the second consecutive season in 2018. The Bulldogs are geared to be a staunch team defensively this fall, as second-team All-MIAA selections Justin Tobin (Jr., D, Midland, Mich.) and Spencer Brown (Sr., GK, Monroe, Mich.) return for the upcoming campaign.
Trine (13-3-2, 5-2-0 MIAA) was bounced from the MIAA tournament last season in a penalty kick shootout by Adrian in the semifinals. Nooh Aljabaly (Sr., F, Coldwater, Mich.) was named the MIAA Newcomer of the Year after a stellar inaugural season with the Thunder in 2018, registering 16 points (7 goals, 2 assists) in six contests to rank second in the MIAA in points.
Friday, Aug. 30 marks the start of the 2019 campaign for MIAA teams, with seven of eight teams taking to the pitch in non-conference play. The MIAA single-round robin schedule begins Tuesday, Oct. 8, with Calvin at Hope at 7 p.m. being part of the four fixtures marking MIAA opening day. The six-team 2019 MIAA Men's Soccer Tournament starts Saturday, Nov. 2 with first-round action; the MIAA Tournament championship game is set for Saturday, Nov. 9 at the highest remaining seed.