Hope's soccer teams are primed for another great season of play.
The Flying Dutchmen will be seeking to sustain a successful 2011 season that ended with a Top Ten national ranking and the deepest penetration into the NCAA Division III tournament in school history.
Coach Steve Smith's Flying Dutchmen were ranked ninth in the final national poll of the National Soccer Coaches of America. Hope advanced to the elite eight in the Division III tournament and tied the school record for victories in a season, posting a 17-5-4 record.
Coach Smith begins his 23rd season at the helm of the program. His record through the 2011 season is 308-100-34, .765. His mark against MIAA opponents is 210-57-20. With 200 conference wins, Smith joined two hall-of-fame coaches -- Hardy Fuchs of Kalamazoo (254 MIAA wins from 1971-2002) and Marv Zuidema of Calvin (214 wins from 1970-1997) -- who also achieved that distinction over the 40-year history of MIAA soccer.
The pre-season roster of returning players includes nine sophomores, six juniors and five seniors.
Co-captains of the team are senior Luke Dishnow of Saline (Saline HS), senior Jeff Ekdom of Holland (Holland Christian HS), and junior Grant Neil of Holland (West Ottawa HS).
The Flying Dutchmen return four players who received All-MIAA honors a year ago. Junior forward Nick Heyboer of Grand Haven (Grand Haven HS) was a first team honoree while sophomore midfielder Tarwo Konbloa of East Kentwood (East Kentwood HS), senior forward Jason Muller of Petoskey (Petoskey HS) and junior back Grant Neil of Holland (West Ottawa HS) received second team recognition. Konbloa was also voted the MIAA's newcomer of the year. Heyboer, who was also named to the All-Region team, was voted the team's most valuable offensive player and Neil was recognized as the most inspirational.
Muller was the team's leading scorer in 2011 with seven goals and eight assists. Heyboer was credited with eight goals, including four game-winners, while Neil recorded eight assists, all off throw-ins.
Link to Men's Soccer Website
A veteran Flying Dutch team will be aiming to improve on a successful 2011 season.
The Flying Dutch, coached by Leigh Sears, advanced to the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA ) post-season tournament and posted an overall 12-8 record.
Coach Sears begins her 12th season at the helm of the program and with 113 victories is the winningest Hope women's soccer coach.
The pre-season roster of returning players includes 11 sophomores, four juniors and seven seniors.
Captains of the team are seniors Megan Altieri of Bay Village (Bay Village HS), Kylie Clark of Noblesville, Ind. (Noblesville HS), Lindsay Jipping of Jenison (Unity Christian HS), and Sara Lang of Traverse City (Traverse City Central HS).
Three players who received All-MIAA honors in 2011 return -- junior forward Cara Johnson of Chelsea (Chelsea HS), sophomore forward Erin Jipping of Holland (West Ottawa HS), and Kylie Clark, a defender.
Altieri, the team's goalkeeper, was voted the 2011 team's most valuable player while Erin Jipping and Kylie Clark were honored as the offensive and defensive MVPs respectively. Nora Kirk, a sophomore from Maumee, Ohio, was honored as the rookie of the year and junior Katie Gabriel of Grandville (Grandville HS) was recognized as the most improved player.
Four returning players were honored during the 2011 season as MIAA players of the week -- Erin Jipping, Kylie Clark, Sara Lang and sophomore Courtnet Schmidt of Lowell (Lowell HS).
Link to Women's Soccer website