The Hope College women’s soccer team is expected to challenge for back-to-back Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association titles this fall.
Coach Leigh Sears and the Flying Dutch finished a narrow second in the 2015 MIAA Preseason Coaches poll announced on Tuesday.
Hope collected three of nine possible first votes and totaled 57 points. The Flying Dutch were one point behind Kalamazoo, which had five first-place votes. Coaches could not vote for their own teams.
Albion came in third with one first-place vote and 47 points. The rest of the poll included fourth-place Calvin (42 points), fifth-place Alma (40), sixth-place Adrian (33), seventh-place Saint Mary’s (22), eighth-place Trine (13) and ninth-place Olivet (12).
In 2014, Hope posted a 17-4-2 record while winning its MIAA regular-season championship and the league tournament. It was the second-most number of wins in Flying Dutch history. Hope also advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division III Tournament.
The Flying Dutch kick off practice this week. Hope opens the season with an August 29 exhibition against Grand Valley State University at Van Soccer Andel Stadium.
The regular-season opener for the Flying Dutch is Sept. 1 against Cornerstone at Van Andel Soccer Stadium.
This is Sears’ 14th season as head coach. Sears has a career record at Hope of 160-98-18.
Team Pts. (1st place votes)
1. Kalamazoo 58 (5)
2. Hope 57 (3)
3. Albion 47 (1)
4. Calvin 42
5. Alma 40
6. Adrian 33
7. Saint Mary's 22
8. Trine 13
9. Olivet 12