The MIAA champion Flying Dutch will be headed to Granville, Ohio to compete in the NCAA Division III regional women's tennis tournament beginning Thursday, May 7, on the campus of Denison University.
Hope (19-5) will be playing Keuka, N.Y. (6-5) in a first round match beginning at 10 a.m. The six-team regional field will also include host Denison (14-6), SUNY-Geneseo (10-0), Ohio Northern (20-5), and Mary Washington, Va. (17-7).
The NCAA field consists of 47 teams who are seeking to advance to the championship finals May 19-21 in Lawrenceville, Ga.
The Flying Dutch, coached by Karen Page and Tiger Teusink, are competing in the NCAA tournament for the sixth time in school history and the first time since 2000.
Keuka College has an enrollment of 1,000 students and is a member of North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC). Appearing in the NCAA tournament for the first time in school history, the Storm finished second in their conference but gained the automatic berth in the championship because champion Penn State-Harrisburg is a NCAA provisional member and is not eligible for post-season play.
The Flying Dutch will be representing the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association after defeating rival Calvin 5-4 in the championship match of the conference tournament. Hope (19-5) was undefeated in league dual matches (8-0) this spring and head into the NCAA tournament with a 14-match winning streak.
This will be the third trip to nationals under coach Page who has guided Hope's tennis fortunes since 1998. Hope's tennis program -- women and men -- have dedicated this season to coach Page who is battling cancer and has been unable to take an active coaching role since undergoing surgery a month ago. Her very capable assistant, Dwayne "Tiger" Teusink, is serving as interim coach.
The Flying Dutch are led by Samantha (Sammie) Stille of Holland, Mich. (Holland HS), the only senior on the roster. A four-time All-MIAA honoree, Stille was voted this season's most valuable player in the MIAA.
Hope's lineup in the conference tournament last weekend was #1 Samantha Stille; #2 Katherine Garcia, a sophomore from Battle Creek, Mich. (BC Central HS); #3 Nicole Spagnuolo, a sophomore from Okemos, Mich. (Okemos HS); #4 Danielle Werley, a junior from Holland, Mich. (Holland HS); #5 Mia Savagian, a freshman from Bloomfield Hills, Mich. (Lahser HS); and #6 Marissa Kooyers, a junior from Holland, Mich. (Holland Christian HS).
The doubles lineup has been #1 Samantha Stille and Danielle Werley; #2 Katherine Garcia and Nicole Spagnuolo; and #3 Lucy Himes, a junior from Grand Blanc, Mich. (L.M. Powers Catholic HS) and Elizabeth Olson, a junior from Ankeny, Iowa (Ankeny HS).
Other squad members include freshman Kristen Marsh of Traverse City, Mich. (Traverse City St. Francis HS); sophomore Kathryn Sawyer of Batavia, Ill. (Batavia HS); and freshman Audrey Schultz of Grand Haven, Mich. (Grand Haven HS).