The MIAA champion Hope College volleyball team will compete in the NCAA Division III championship tournament for the second year in-a-row.
The Flying Dutch will be part of the six-team Great Lakes Regional tournament to be held Thursday thru Saturday (Nov. 12- 14) at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio.
Hope's first opponent will be no stranger. On Thursday night the Flying Dutch (32-7) will meet MIAA rival Calvin (20-12) at 8 p.m. Earlier in the evening Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) rivals Muskingum (27-5) and Ohio Northern (19-12) will clash.
The Hope-Calvin winner will advance to Friday action against top-seeded Wittenberg (24-9) while the Muskingum-Ohio Northern winner will meet Mount Saint Joseph, Ohio (30-4). The regional championship match will be Saturday night (7 p.m.).
The Flying Dutch are coached by Maureen Odland who in two seasons at the helm has guided the team to a 60-11 record, two conference championships and back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances.
Hope will be making its third appearance in the NCAA tournament. The Flying Dutch first appeared in the playoffs in 1987 and then went a decade before getting another bid a year ago.
This season the Flying Dutch won the MIAA championship for a third consecutive year finishing a victory ahead of Calvin in the standings.
Hope and Calvin split their matches this season. Calvin won in four games in Grand Rapids, 15-13, 9-15, 15-13, 16-14, while Hope won in Holland in a three-game sweep, 15-13, 15-4, 15-11. Hope is seeded fourth in the tournament while Calvin is seeded fifth.
Hope's 32 victories ties a Hope single season mark first established in 1987. During the season the Flying Dutch defeated Ohio Northern, but lost to Muskingum in a tournament at Wittenberg University. Mount Saint Joseph defeated the Flying Dutch in the championship match of the season-ending Midwest Invitational.
A year ago Ohio Northern defeated the Flying Dutch in the first round of the playoffs in five games, 11-15, 13-15, 15-6, 15-8, 16-14.