Flying Dutch won their first-ever Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) championship and made their inaugural appearance in the NCAA Division III tournament, advancing to the second round. The team won a school-record 16 games, out-scoring opponents 60-11 behind 15 shutouts.
Coach Leigh Sears returns to the helm after spending the 2003-04 academic year off-campus pursuing post-graduate studies at Ohio State University. One of her assistant coaches, Lindsey Engelsman, directed the team last fall and returns to the staff this season.
The roster of 26 players includes 18 returning letterwinners. There are seven freshmen, seven sophomores, nine juniors and three seniors.
Tri-captains of the team will be senior Dawn Gillam, senior Cate Neidlinger of Marshall (Marshall HS), and junior Tess Scholz of Portage (Portage Northern HS).
This year's team includes six players who achieved All-MIAA honors in 2003. Senior midfielder Dawn Gillam achieved All-MIAA first team honors for a second consecutive year. She was joined on the first team by sophomore fullback Rachel Sauerman of Naperville, Ill. (Naperville North HS) and sophomore goalkeeper Holly Nestle of Mason (Mason HS). All-MIAA second team honorees returning for the 2004 season are junior Negeen Masghati of Naperville, Ill. (Naperville Central HS), junior midfielder Tess Scholz, and sophomore fullback Kendall Aliber of Birmingham (Marian HS).
Other returning letterwinners include senior Stephanie Bylsma of Hudsonville (Hudsonville HS), sophomore Erin Dargus of Geneva, Ill. (Geneva Community HS), junior Marie DePetris of Troy (Troy Athens HS), junior Leah DeWitt of Holland (Holland Christian HS), junior Stefanie Haba of Clarkston (Marian HS), junior Linnae Klompmaker of Holland (Holland Christian HS), sophomore Ashleigh McNeil of DeWitt (DeWitt HS), junior Erica Pagorek of Munster, Ind. (Andrean HS), sophomore Lauren Peters of East Lansing (Okemos HS), junior Lauren Stieper of Dearborn (Dearborn HS), and junior Emily Tyler of Rochester (Rochester Adams HS).
Men's Soccer Pre-Season Outlook
The Flying Dutchmen will be bidding for a three-peat as they seek to win a third consecutive Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) championship and a berth in the NCAA Division III championships.
In 2003, coach Steve Smith's Flying Dutchmen topped a very competitive MIAA field and advanced to the second round of the NCAA playoffs, posting a 16-4-4 record. The Flying Dutchmen have won or tied 38 of 47 games the past two seasons.
Coach Smith, who begins his 15th season at the helm of the team and is approaching his 200th collegiate victory (192-64-22), counts 10 returning letterwinners on a roster of 22 players. The roster includes two seniors, seven juniors, four sophomores and nine freshmen.
Tri-captains of the team will be senior Todd Chappa of Portage (Portage Northern HS), sophomore Patrick McMahon of Grand Rapids (Forest Hills Central HS), and junior Devin McNeil of Lansing (DeWitt HS).
In 2003, McNeil was voted to the All-MIAA first team while Chappa and junior Karter Klingenberg of Holland (Holland Christian HS) were voted to the second team. McNeil was also voted to the coaches' All-Region second team. Klingenberg topped the MIAA in goals scored with 11 and finished the entire season with 13, in addition to six assists.
Other returning letterwinners include senior Tyler Basler of Auburn (Auburn Western HS), junior Kevin Butterfield of Zanesville, Ohio (Zanesville HS), junior David Gonthier of Holland, (West Ottawa HS), sophomore Jordan Goorhouse of Caledonia (East Kentwood HS), junior Phil Lepper of Midland (Dow HS), and junior Geoff Meyer of Grand Rapids (Forest Hills Northern HS).