HOLLAND, Mich. – Kalamazoo College's Sarah George was named one of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association players of the week just a day ago, and her value to the Hornets was on display once again Tuesday evening at Hope College.
With the score level at 0-0 in the 85th minute, Kalamazoo's Libby Munoz drew a foul in a threatening position inside the Hope defensive third setting up George's golden opportunity with a free kick. George drove the free kick from 35 yards out into the top right corner over the outstretched Hope goalkeeper and that's all the Hornets needed as they closed out the final five minutes allowing them to remain atop the MIAA with an undefeated conference record.
The goal was notably George's second consecutive game with a goal off a free kick.
"We have a lot of road games in the second half of the league and being able to open with a win on the road against a very good team is an important step on the path to our best soccer," Kalamazoo Head Coach Bryan Goyings said. "It was a terrific team victory tonight."
Hope managed to carry play in the first 45 minutes as the Dutch held a 10-2 advantage in shots at halftime, but strong play from Kalamazoo's Grace Smith in goal, who Goyings said was the Hornets' best player on the evening, allowed the Hornets to weather the storm. Smith ended the first half with four saves and was tasked with making just one in the second half.
"Hope really dictated the play in the first half but Grace was the best player on the field for us tonight," Goyings said. "She made some timely saves for us including several breakaways.
"We were able to match their effort in the first half but needed to be more organized. I thought we made a strong push at the beginning of the second half and felt unfortunate not to score in the first 10 minutes."
Suzanne Miller proved to be a constant threat for Kalamazoo on the evening in the attacking third as she ended the day with a team-high three shots, including one on frame.
Kalamazoo, now 8-0-1 and five points clear of the Dutch in the MIAA standings, will head back home this Friday as the Hornets welcome Trine University to MacKenzie Field. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m. under the lights.