With all the changes the Hope College volleyball team faced after a national championship season, head coach Becky Schmidt felt at ease with setter Lauren Hazekamp and libero Allie Mitchell returning.
Both seniors rewarded their coach’s confidence.
Hazekamp repeated as an All-Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association First-Team Selection during the 2015 season, while Mitchell claimed the league’s Defensive Player of the Award for the second consecutive season.
“They’ve been the model of consistency for us the past three years. They’ve held down those positions, have facilitated our success,” Schmidt said. “We graduated a lot of our offense last year and knowing the defensive players we had returning, we said ‘We have the first two contacts figured out, who’s going to put the ball away?’
“They have met and exceeded those expectations every single year they’ve been here. I’m very glad they chose Hope. I’m grateful the impact they had on me as a coach and proud of everything they have accomplished.”
Hazekamp is one of eight players to receive All-MIAA First Team honors. The 2014 national champion and two-time American Volleyball Coaches Association All-American from Fruitport, Michigan (Fruitport HS) also was All-MIAA as a junior.
Hazekamp helped the Flying Dutch qualify for the MIAA Tournament championship match and post a 14-2 league record for second place. She averaged 10.29 assists, 3.71 digs and 1.42 kills per set in MIAA matches this season.
Junior middle hitter Courtney Van Houzen of Traverse City, Michigan (Traverse City West HS), praised Hazekamp’s impact on the team’s hitters.
“Lauren makes our lives as hitters a lot easier than it could be,” Van Houzen said. “The best thing we can do is trust that she’ll set us, and she does. There’s a reason I get kills and it’s because she’s has faith to set me on plays that aren’t perfect. She’s really good at mixing it up.”
Mitchell averaged 4.79 digs per set in MIAA matches for third in the league. She anchored a deep group of Hope’s liberos.
Mitchell also earned All-MIAA Second Team honors along with junior outside hitter Sarah Feldpausch of White Cloud, Michigan (White Cloud HS).
Feldpausch finished third in the MIAA with 3.20 kills per set in league matches.
From left, Hope College volleyball players Allie Mitchell, Lauren Hazekamp, head coach Becky Schmidt and Sarah Feldpausch