League championships in four sports and unprecedented opportunities to compete in post-season tournaments highlighted a successful fall sports season.
Hope teams captured Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) championships in football, men's golf and men's and women's soccer.
As league champions, Hope also qualified for NCAA Division III championships in football, men's and women's soccer.
One MIAA championship was especially significant because it was Hope's first in women's soccer and marked a landmark accomplishment. Hope has now won at least one MIAA title in all 18 league-sponsored sports. No other MIAA member school has achieved that. Since joining the MIAA in 1926, Hope teams have won 193 league championships.
The success of the fall season has put Hope in a familiar place: atop the MIAA Commissioner's Cup standings. With eight fall sports in the books, Hope sits solidly in first with 89 all-sports points, followed by Calvin with 75, Albion 59, Alma 53, Kalamazoo 43, Adrian 20 and Adrian 19.
In addition to the four league championships, the women's golf team finished second while the men's and women's cross country teams and volleyball squad ended third.
The Commissioner's Cup (MIAA All-Sports Award) has been presented since 1934-35. Hope has won it a record 25 times.
The Flying Dutchmen captured their fourth MIAA championship in nine seasons under coach Dean Kreps and advanced to the NCAA Division III playoffs for the third time in school history.
The team rode the arm of senior quarterback Phil Butler of Howard City, Mich., who was complemented by an outstanding running back and a cadre of excellent receivers. Hope ended with a 7-4 record, including 5-1 in MIAA games.
Butler rewrote the Hope record book in every passing category. He ended his career throwing seven touchdown passes and accumulating 500 yards through the air in a 55-45 NCAA playoff loss to Wheaton, Ill. In just three seasons he threw 86 touchdown passes over 8,510 yards.
Senior tailback Dan Bloemers of Caledonia, Mich., became the sixth Hope player to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season, finishing with 1,437 yards with 14 touchdowns. Senior receiver Joe Verschueren of Muskegon, Mich., set a single-season mark for touchdown receptions (17); junior receiver Jake Schrock of Lakewood, Mich., averaged 22.8 yards per catch, a record; and senior tight end Scott Jeschke of Gobles, Mich., caught a school-record 14 passes in the NCAA playoff game.
The Flying Dutchmen placed 13 players on the all-conference teams. Butler was voted the league's most valuable offensive player, and was one of eight Hope players on the All-MIAA first teams. He was joined on offense by sophomore tackle Josh DeHaan of Fremont, Mich., senior receiver Joe VerSchueren and senior tailback Dan Bloemers.
Hope's All-MIAA first team honorees on defense included senior end Matt Beaver of Gladwin, Mich., senior linebacker Bill Rozema of Holland, Mich., junior linebacker Paul Hoeksema of Grand Rapids, Mich., and junior defensive back Andy Snyder of Berrien Springs, Mich.
Named to the All-MIAA second team were junior offensive tackle Mike Verwys of Otsego, Mich., senior tight end Scott Jeschke, junior receiver Jeff Eldersveld of Grand Rapids, Mich., senior defensive back Brian Fielhauer of Byron, Mich., and junior punter Seth Kovarik of Traverse City, Mich.
For the second consecutive year the Flying Dutchmen were conference co-champions, and for the second year in a row Hope received the MIAA's automatic berth in the NCAA Division III playoffs.
This year Hope shared the league championship with rival Calvin, but gained the opportunity for post- season play through the league's tie-breaker rule. The Flying Dutchmen, who were 14-4-4 for the season, advanced to the second round of the NCAA playoffs before bowing to Wisconsin-Oshkosh 2-0.
Six players were awarded all-conference honors. Named to the first team were sophomore forward Devin McNeil of Lansing, Mich., senior midfielder Kevney Dugan of Holland, Mich., and senior back Steve Lepper of Midland, Mich.
Second team honorees included sophomore forward Karter Klingenberg of Holland, Mich., and senior midfielder Ed Huebner and junior back Todd Chappa, both of Portage, Mich.
Huebner, who achieved All-MIAA recognition four consecutive years, was also the co-recipient of the Zuidema Award for his contributions to team play.
Hope women's soccer enjoyed its most successful season in school history. The Flying Dutch posted a 16-4-2 record, including a 11-2-1 conference mark.
The program's first-ever MIAA championship also sent the Flying Dutch to the NCAA playoffs for the first time. The team was rewarded with a home game and responded with a 2-0 victory over Manchester, Ind. Seven times during the season Hope played games that ended in a 1-0 score, but in the second round of the playoffs it was DePauw, Ind., that prevailed by that margin.
Six players received all-conference honors and head coach Lindsey Odell '01 Engelsman was honored by her peers. Engelsman, who served a one-year appointment as head coach, was named the MIAA's coach of the year. An assistant coach in previous seasons, Engelsman filled in for Leigh Sears, who was on a leave of absence to pursue post-graduate studies.
Hope players named to the All-MIAA first team were junior midfielder Dawn Gillam of Portage, Mich., freshman fullback Rachel Sauerman of Naperville, Ill., and freshman goalkeeper Holly Nestle of Mason, Mich. Nestle keyed a defense that was credited with 15 shutouts.
Second team All-MIAA honorees included sophomore midfielder Negeen Masghati of Naperville, Ill., sophomore midfielder Tess Scholz of Portage, Mich., and freshman fullback Kendall Aliber of Birmingham, Mich.
The Flying Dutchmen captured their fourth MIAA men's golf championship in five years under coach Bob Ebels. The team won six of seven league tournaments and placed five golfers among the MIAA's top 10.
Junior Ryan Shedd of Coldwater, Mich., was the league medalist as Hope captured the top individual honors in MIAA men's golf for the sixth consecutive year. Shedd had a league-record tournament round of 67 and finished with the second best cumulative average in conference history.
He was joined on the All-MIAA first team by junior Justin Spyker of Portage, Mich., and senior captain Jeff Melville of Grandville, Mich. Gaining All-MIAA second team recognition were junior Kody Taylor of Greenville, Mich., and freshman Ryan Otto of St. Joseph, Mich.
The Flying Dutch finished runnerup in the MIAA women's golf standings for the second straight year. Senior Lacey Wicksall of Traverse City, Mich., captured All-MIAA first team honors for the third year in her career. Receiving All-MIAA second team recognition were sophomore Brittany Philo of Greenville, Mich., and freshman Holly Sneller of Holland, Mich.
The Flying Dutch finished third in the MIAA and posted a 21-13 overall record. Two players received All-MIAA honors. Senior setter McKenna Troyan of Sylvania, Ohio, was a first team honoree, while senior middle hitter Katie Hall of Holland, Mich., was named to the second team.
Both Hope cross country teams finished third in their respective MIAA standings. All-conference honors were presented to 10 athletes. The recognition was based on performance in the league jamboree and championship meet.
Senior Peter Derby of Cadillac, Mich., achieved All-MIAA first team recognition, and finished 10th at the MIAA championships. He was also named to the Division III All-Region team.
Hope runners named to the All-MIAA men's second team were freshman Ryan TerLouw of Pella, Iowa, sophomore Tyson Warner of Portage, Mich., and sophomore Kyle Williams of Plainwell, Mich.
Junior Tina Pike of Rochester, Minn., achieved All-MIAA first team honors for the second time. She finished sixth at the MIAA championships and was also named to the Division III All-Region team.
Five runners were named to the All-MIAA women's second team: freshman Ashley Dean of Cadillac, Mich., senior Martha Graham of Midland, Mich., freshman Monique Hoyle of Delton, Mich., freshman Alison Mejeur of St. Joseph, Mich., and freshman Leslie Tableman of Lansing, Mich.