posted February 14, 2012

2012 Pre-Season Women's Tennis Outlook

A veteran yet young Flying Dutch team should again contend for a Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) championship. The 2011 Flying Dutch, under third-year coach Nate Price, finished second in a close conference race and posted an overall 14-8 dual match record.

Coach Price has guided the Flying Dutch to back-to-back second place MIAA finishes. His teams have posted a 30-16 dual match record, including a streak of 14 consecutive victories during the 2010 season.

This year's team consists of seven returning letterwinners, but there are no seniors on the roster. There are five juniors, three sophomores and two freshmen.

Co-captains of the team are juniors Melissa Bieri of Holland (Holland Christian HS) and Shelby Schulz of Allegan (Allegan HS).

Junior Leah LaBarge of Hudsonville (Hudsonville HS) was an All-MIAA second team honoree. Other returning letterwinners are junior Casey Baxter of Saline (Saline HS), sophomore Stephanie Huffman of Grand Rapids (Forest Hills Eastern HS), junior Andrea Pickelman of Marshall (Marshall HS) and sophomore Mallry Smith of Grand Haven (Grand Haven HS).

The indoor portion of the season will include two matches at Hope's six-court DeWitt Tennis Center. The annual spring break schedule will take the Flying Dutch to Orlando, Fla.

Hope athletic facilities will soon be joined by a new outdoor tennis complex. The courts will be located close to Hope's DeWitt Tennis Center  and will consist of 12 courts, an officials' shelter and elevated seating for spectators. Construction of the new complex is expected to be completed by next summer.