HOLLAND -- The Hope College volleyball team will be rewarded for their patience when they begin playing this fall at the college's new DeVos Fieldhouse as defending champions of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association.
The season begins with a tournament hosted by Elmhurst (Ill.) College on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 1-2. The Flying Dutch will celebrate their new home on Tuesday, Sept. 5, against MIAA opponent Saint Mary's.
DeVos Fieldhouse, which features an area for volleyball, opened last November just days after coach Becky Schmidt's Dutch clinched a conference championship with a perfect 16-0 record. The MIAA title, Hope's first since 2000, culminated 28 seasons of playing matches at the college's DowCenter.
Coach Becky Schmidt, an All-American during her Hope collegiate years, begins her third season at the helm of the Flying Dutch. She was honored as the MIAA coach of the year in 2005.
This year's Flying Dutch will be built around eight returning letterwinners. The pre-season roster includes four seniors, one junior, three sophomores and seven freshmen..
Co-captains of the team will be seniors Amber Hoezee and Deena VanAssen, both from Jenison, Mich. (Jenison HS). Hoezee and senior Stephanie Poll of Hamilton, Mich. (Hamilton HS) were All-MIAA first team honorees in 2005. A setter, Poll was one of the nation's top Division III players in assists, averaging 12.15 per game. Hoezee was among the MIAA leaders in hitting percentage and service aces.
Other returning letterwinners include senior Kim Brandes of Hillsdale, Mich. (Hillsdale HS), sophomore Kylee Damstra of Byron Center, Mich. (South Christian HS), sophomore Jill Immink of Hamilton, Mich. (Hamilton HS), junior Amanda Novak of East Grand Rapids, Mich. (East Grand Rapids HS), and sophomore Nora Slenk of Holland, Mich. (Holland Christian HS).