An exciting season awaits the Flying Dutch, one that goes way beyond playing the games.
At some point in their season, coach Leigh Sear's Flying Dutch will begin playing in the new $4 million Van Andel Soccer Stadium which is destined to become one of Division III's premier pitches. The stadium will feature seating for 1,500 fans who will watch games played on artificial turf. The stadium is equipped with lights for night games and amenities such as lockerrooms for Hope's teams, a pressbox and concession stand. The official stadium dedication is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 17.
As a prelude to the season, the Flying Dutch travelled to Scotand the first week in August for training, competition and service. It was the second European trip for the Flying Dutch. In 2005 the team came back to claim a co-championship in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA).
Coach Leigh Sears will build the team around 18 letterwinners from a team that finished third in the MIAA last fall and posted an overall 13-6-0 record.
Coach Sears begins her ninth season at the helm of Hope women's soccer. Over eight seasons she has guided the Flying Dutch to two conference championships while posting an 87-58-9 overall record.
Co-captains of the team will be senior Kirsten Kaufmann of Clio (Flint Powers Catholic HS), junior Kara Marsman of Holland (Holland Christian HS), and junior Kristen Schwenk of Midland (H.H. Dow HS). Kaufmann is the only senior on the pre-season roster.
Junior defender Courtney Cook of Grand Rapids (Forest Hills Central HS) is a two-time All-MIAA first team honoree. Kristen Schwenk, a midfielder, received All-MIAA second team honors last fall.
Two returning sophomore players, Nikki Franzese of Naperville, Ill. (Naperville HS) and Elizabeth Hamber of Palatine, Ill. (Palatine HS), received MIAA player of the week honors as freshmen.
Other returning letterwinners include junior Emily Baracy of Fenton (Fenton HS), junior Kirsten Bonzelaar of Holland (Holland Christian HS), junior Kelsey Bos of Holland (Holland HS), junior Mallory Fox of Livonia (Livonia Stevenson HS), sophomore Lana Gentry of Traverse City (Traverse City Central HS), junior Sophie Hartman of Plainwell (Plainwell HS), junior Bethany Kicz of Ada (Forest Hills Central HS), junior Katie Lovinger of Hillsdale (Hillsdale HS), sophomore Jessica Malkin of Bay City (Bay City Western HS), junior Lauren Miller of San Diego, Calif (University City HS), sophomore Danielle Petzak of Zeeland (Zeeland West HS), and sophomore Heather Reece of Hoosick Falls, N.Y. (Hoosick Fal;l Central HS).