The MIAA champion Flying Dutch will be headed to Wisconsin to compete in the NCAA Division III championships beginning Thursday. The NCAA has assigned coach Becky Schmidt's Dutch to the eight-team regional tournament to be hosted by the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh.
Hope (26-6) is scheduled to play Heidelberg, Ohio (30-7) in a first round match at 6 p.m. CT Thursday.
The Flying Dutch gained the MIAA's automatic berth in the playoffs in an unusual way. As the regular season champion of the MIAA, Hope was scheduled to host the NCAA-qualifying tournament this past weekend. However, the Hope campus was ordered closed by health authorities when a Noro-like-virus swept across the student body. The tournament had to be cancelled, too. By league rule Hope, as league champion, gained the automatic berth. The Hope campus remains closed until at least Wednesday. Further complicating things, athletic teams are not being allowed to practice.
Just a week ago Heidelberg, in the Midwest Challenge hosted by Hope, defeated the Flying Dutch in five games. Hope will be competing in the NCAA championship for the sixth time in school history. The last time was in 2006.
Other teams in the Regional include rival Calvin ((26-4), UW-Whitewater (28-9), Carthage (30-4), St. Norbert (30-3), Lakeland (25-10), and host Uw-Oshkosh (37-2).