A determined Elizabeth Perkins reaped the rewards on the soccer field this fall for the Hope College women’s soccer team from a summer’s worth of hard work.
The senior from Eaton Rapids, Michigan (Lansing Christian HS) has been selected as the MIAA’s Most Valuable Player after a record-setting 2016 season that included a regular-season league championship and a MIAA Tournament title.
Perkins headlines a 12-player All-MIAA First Team that includes two teammates: senior midfielder Natalie Curry of Grand Rapids, Michigan (Grandville Calvin Christian) and junior forward Erin Brophy of West Lafayette, Indiana (West Lafayette).
Hope coach Leigh Sears called Perkins a special player.
“She came back this fall with the ultimate goal of wanting the team to win,” Sears said. “She put in the work over the summer to do just that, and in the process broke multiple Hope records and is in a three-way tie for leading the nation in scoring. She has had an absolutely amazing season.”
Perkins is the fourth Flying Dutch player to earn MVP honors. She joins Allison VanBeek
(2008), Dawn Gillam
(2004) and Tina Gill DeKam (1996).
Perkins topped the MIAA with 19 goals in 16 league matches and three more during the MIAA Tournament. Her 19 goals during the regular season tied for the sixth-most in league history.
Perkins also totaled six assists during MIAA regular-season and postseason play.
In all matches this season, Perkins has a school-record 25 goals that is tied for first among NCAA Division III players heading into this week’s NCAA Division III Tournament.
Hope kicks off the NCAA Tournament on Friday, Nov. 11 with a 1:30 p.m. match against Lynchburg, Virginia at Thomas More College in Crestview Hills, Kentucky.
Brophy tied for second on the Flying Dutch with seven goals in 15 league matches. She also collected five assists. She and Perkins were among six forwards named first-team.
“Erin is incredibly creative down the right side,” Sears said. “She had a very good year despite seeing many double teams through the second round.”
Curry was one of three midfielders chosen to the first team. She finished MIAA play with four goals and two assists in 16 matches.
“Natalie has been a constant workhorse in the middle for us,” Sears said. “She can be a 90-minute player when necessary and is amazing at setting others up.”
Junior forward Allie Wittenbach of Ada, Michigan (Forest Hills Central) was an All-MIAA Second Team selection. She tied for second on the team with seven goals in 15 league matches. while also contributing four assists.
“Allie has been our intensity,” Sears said. “Her speed on the left side along with her work rate have been very dangerous this year.”