Defender Mara Droppers and attacker Hannah VanAlst made their impact felt all over the field for the Hope College women’s lacrosse team. Both received All-Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association First Team distinction for their performances.
Droppers and VanAlst are among 13 first-team selections. There were three defenders, three attackers, five midfielders and one goalie chosen.
Droppers anchored a defense that helped Hope win seven matches this season — the most in their four varsity seasons. The junior from Winter Park, Florida (Winter Park HS) fielded 20 groundballs and caused 12 turnovers in MIAA matches this season.
Hope coach Kim Vincent said Droppers excelled this spring.
“This is Mara's second season playing lacrosse after many years of playing basketball. I feel she's done a phenomenal job of transferring her skills from the court to the lacrosse field in a very short amount of time,” Vincent said. “In conference and non conference games she leads the team in ground balls and caused turnovers and she is well respected by her teammates. We've seen incredible growth in her ability to handle the ball, play solid settled and transition defense and work with her teammates.”
VanAlst also was named MIAA Rookie of the Year. The freshman from Clio, Michigan (Flint Powers Catholic HS) tied for eighth in the MIAA with 20 goals in league matches. She also collected three assists.
Overall, VanAlst totaled 26 goals — the seventh-most all-time by a Flying Dutch varsity player.
"Hannah leads in our team in total goals, points, draw controls and caused turnovers,” Vincent said. “She is an excellent player and really fun to watch. Her speed, fast feet and hands and ability to handle her stick in tight situations with poise and composure set her apart. It's great to see a freshman be an impact player in her first year. She has already earned MIAA Defensive Player of the Week and MIAA Offensive Player of the Week. I can't wait to see what the future holds for this talented player.”.
Hope also had four second-team honorees: senior attacker Abigale Cassella of Okemos, Michigan (Okemos HS), attacker Emily Deane of Rochester Hills, Michigan (Adams HS), midfielder Alexandra Webb of Woodland Hills, California (Calabasas HS) and defender Mackenzie Schumborg of Ann Arbor, Michigan (Saline HS).
Cassella was the heart and soul of the Flying Dutch offense, Vincent said.
“After suffering from a season ending injury last year, Abby has come back and she's on a mission,” Cassella said. “She ties with Hannah for the most total points in conference play and earned MIAA Offensive Player of the Week. Her return after an injury has been an inspiration to all of us and an example of how to be a great teammate both on the sidelines and on the field.”
Schumborg’s leadership on defense will be dearly missed next year, Vincent said.
“She's one of the hardest working players I've had the privilege of coaching, a true competitor and leader on defense,” Vincent said. “Last year her role expanded to include becoming one of our center draw specialists. She gives the team everything she has both on and off the field. I credit Mackenzie for her role in creating the team culture we have today. She is the last remaining player from the first varsity team.”
Webb has quickly blossomed after not playing much as a freshman two years ago.
“Hard work in the offseason and then in season for the last two seasons has transformed her into the rock solid lacrosse athlete she is today,” Vincent said. “Webb, who has the most gentle of personalities, plays with intensity of a competitor. It's fun to watch her in action. She's an excellent all around player, all over the field.”
Deane developed into a great offensive leader, Vincent said.
“I've never seen anyone who was so talented at reading this game,” Vincent said. “She knows the game better than most and likes to be a part of developing team strategies. We know in games that we can count on Emily to help us be effective in getting her teammates on the same page and productive in getting the ball into the back of the net.”