Consistent play contributed to an outstanding fall sports season as Hope's teams put the college on track for winning yet another conference Commissioner's Cup for the best all-around program.
The fall season is the school year's busiest with eight sports teams competing for conference championships. No fall Hope team finished below third place in their Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) standings. The consistency has put Hope in first place in the Commissioner's Cup and the Men's and Women's All-Sports standings heading into the winter season.
Hope's lone conference championship came in volleyball and there were runnerup finishes in four sports - men's and women's cross country, men's soccer and men's golf. Finishing third were teams in football, women's golf and women's soccer.
The most amazing finish came in football. After losing their first seven games of the season, the Flying Dutchmen rallied to win their final three, including a season-ending victory on a snow-covered field. The game against Alma had been delayed two weeks because Parents Weekend was cancelled when an illness that swept across the campus caused the college to close for five days.
Two athletes were voted the most valuable in their MIAA sport - junior golfer Steven Strock of Grandville, Mich. and senior soccer midfielder Allison Van Beek of Libertyville, Ill.
Senior Seth Weener of Grandville, Mich. qualified for the NCAA Division III cross country championships, finishing 109th in a field of 280 runners.
Volleyball coach Becky Schmidt '99 achieved her 100th Hope coaching victory in her fifth season at the helm of the Flying Dutch who qualified for the NCAA playoffs.
HIGHLIGHTS BY SPORT
Hope's cross country teams each finished second in the seasonal standings of the MIAA.
Coach Mark Northuis' squads placed second at the nine-team conference championship meet. Over the past two decades the Flying Dutchmen and Flying Dutch have finished third or higher in the conference standings every year.
Seniors Seth Weener of Grandville, Mich. (Grandville HS) and Rob Bailey of Portage, Ind. (Portage HS) achieved All-MIAA first team honors for the second time in their careers. Weener was also an All-MIAA honoree in track & field last spring.
Receiving All-MIAA second team recognition were sophomore Emily Fischer of Naperville, Ill. (Naperville Central HS); senior Zach King of Portage, Mich. (Portage Northern HS); freshman Kelly Luftkin of Houghton, Mich. (Houghton HS); freshman Kate Nelson of Williamston, Mich. (Williamston HS); senior Paul VanderVelde of Lawrence, Kan. (Free State HS); and junior Matt Wiersum of Minnetonka, Minn. (Minnetonka HS).
Coach Dean Kreps' Flying Dutchmen tied for third place in the MIAA standings, posting
a 3-3 record in league games. The team ended 3-7 overall. Four players were voted to the MIAA all-conference football teams.
Senior offensive tackle Erik Ladomersky of Grandville, Mich. (Grandville HS)
was voted to the All-MIAA first team for the third consecutive year. He is just the second Hope offensive tackle in school history to receive All-MIAA first team recognition three straight years, joining Craig Groendyk (1977-78-79).
Sophomore Kyle Dietrich of Gobles (Gobles HS) was honored as an All-MIAA second teamer at two positions, wide receiver and return specialist. Dietrich led the MIAA in all-purpose yardage, catching 40 passes (league games) for 606 yards and averaging 25.3 yards on kickoff returns (12). For the entire season he had the fourth best
pass reception total in school history with 64 catches for 966 yards.
Also named to the All-MIAA second team are junior tight end David DeBoer of Grosse Pointe, Mich. (Grosse Pointe South HS), and junior linebacker Chris Batterbee of Gladwin, Mich. (Gladwin HS). DeBoer caught 44 passes for 462 yards.
Junior Steven Strock of Grandville, Mich. (Grandville HS) won MIAA men's golf medalist honors, bringing the recognition to a Hope golfer for the tenth time in the last 11 years. Strock averaged 73.0 strokes over the league's eight tournaments. It was the fourth best seasonal average by a Hope golfer since the current tournament format started in 1978.
Coach Bob Ebels' Dutchmen finished second in the MIAA's seasonal standings. Olivet captured the championship, finishing 35 strokes ahead of the Flying Dutchmen. It ended Hope's string of five straight titles. The Comets ended at 2,395 strokes followed by Hope 2,420, Trine 2,425, Albion 2,465, Calvin 2,513, Adrian 2,536, Kalamazoo 2,556, and Alma 2,586.
Nick Campbell, a freshman from Saline, Mich. (Saline HS) achieved All-MIAA second team recognition. He finished 10th in the seasonal player standings with an average of 76.6 strokes.
The seasonal MIAA averages of other Hope golfers were Don (DJ) Scholten (senior from Grand Rapids, Mich./GR Christian HS) 78.0, and Don Kring (senior from Williamsburg, Mich./St. Francis HS) 78.0.
The Flying Dutch finished third in the MIAA women's golf seasonal standings behind champion Olivet and runnerup Saint Mary's.
The finish marks continued improvement for coach Eva Dean Folkert's Flying Dutch who were sixth in 2006 and fourth in 2007.
Freshman Megan Scholten of Grand Rapids, Mich. (GR Christian HS) achieved All-MIAA first team honors, finishing third in the seasonal standings while junior captain Cassie Sneller of Holland, Mich. (Hamilton HS) is an All-MIAA second team honoree.
Scholten's season average of 81.2 strokes per 18-hole round was the fourth best in school history. Sneller placed seventh in the player standings, averaging 83.4 per round.
Freshman Sasha Burau of Grand Blanc, Mich. (Grand Blanc HS) also qualified for the seasonal player standings finishing with an 88.5 average.
The Flying Dutchmen, coached by Steven Smith, finished second in the MIAA standings and posted an overall 14-2-4 record. Seven players were named to the coaches' MIAA all-conference teams.
Four players received first team recognition -- senior forward Jack Abe of Naperville, Ill. (Naperville North HS), senior midfielder Kevin McMahon of Grand Rapids, Mich. (Forest Hills Central HS), junior midfielder Ausable Schwiebert of Chelsea, Mich. (Chelsea HS), and senior back James Trebilcock of Haslett, Mich. (Haslett HS). Abe and Trebilcock are being honored for a second time.
Three players were named to the second team -- junior midfielder Chris Harrison of Plymouth, Mich. (Wayzata HS), junior midfielder Kevin Bartosek of Traverse City, Mich. (Traverse City West HS), and senior back Mitchell Currie of Fort Collins, Colo. (Fort Collins HS).
Four members of the women's soccer team received all-conference honors from the MIAA, including the league's top honor.
Coach Leigh Sears' Flying Dutch posted a 13-6 season record and finished third in the MIAA standings.
Senior midfielder Allison Van Beek of Libertyville, Ill. (Libertyville HS) was named the MIAA's most valuable player by conference coaches.
She was joined on the All-MIAA first team by sophomore defender Courtney Cook of Grand Rapids, Mich. (Forest Hills Central HS). Van Beek is being honored on the first team for the third consecutive year while Cook is being recognized for the second time.
Players named to the All-MIAA second team were sophomore midfielder Kristen Schwenk of Midland, Mich. (Dow HS) and senior forward Sarah Sosolik of Oswego, Ill. (Oswego HS).
Van Beek led Hope in scoring this fall with 12 goals and two assists. Over her four-year career she scored 31 goals and had 16 assists. She is the third Hope player to receive MIAA MVP honors joining Tina Gill (1996) and Dawn Gillam (2004).
Four members of Hope's conference champion volleyball team were named to the All-MIAA team by the league's coaches.
Coach Becky Schmidt's Flying Dutch won the regular season conference championship and received the MIAA's automatic berth in the NCAA Division III tournament. The team ended with a 26-8 season record.
Three Hope players received All-MIAA first team honors -- junior Andrea Helminiak of Maumee, Ohio (Anthony Wayne HS), senior Nora Slenk of Holland, Mich. (Holland Christian HS), and sophomore Kara VandeGuchte of Hamilton, Mich. (Hamilton HS). Slenk was honored for the second consecutive year.
Sophomore Cassidy Bolthuis of Nunica, Mich. (Spring Lake HS) was voted to the All-MIAA second team.