Consistent excellence has been a hallmark of Hope College athletics over the years. The 2002 fall sports season was no different.
The Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) experienced one of its most competitive seasons in memory with seven member schools claiming a league championship in the eight fall sports.
The lone title by a Hope team was a co-championship in men's soccer, but across the board there were five seconds, a third and a fourth, allowing Hope to take the lead in the MIAA Commissioner's Cup standings after the fall season. Hope is also the leader in the men's All-Sports standings and is tied for first place with rival Calvin in the women's All-Sports standings.
A highlight of the fall season was Hope's soccer program. The men's team qualified for the NCAA Division III tournament, advancing to the regional finals while the women's team finished second in a league race that went down to the final week.
The Flying Dutchmen won a school-record 17 games while tying Kalamazoo for the conference championship. Qualifying for the NCAA playoffs for the seventh time in school history, coach Steven Smith's Dutchmen did not allow a goal in three tournament games before bowing in the regional finals to Wheaton, Ill. in a shootout.
Senior Matt Margaron of Naperville, Ill. was presented the league's Marvin Zuidema Award for contributions to team play and for leadership qualities. He was one of four players named to the All-MIAA first team, joining senior goalkeeper Marcus Voss of Zeeland, Mich., senior forward Bryant Loomis of Fredonia, N.Y. and junior midfielder Ed Huebner of Portage, Mich. Voss and Huebner were each honored for the third time.
Named to the All-MIAA second team were sophomore forward Tyler Basler of Bay City, Mich., senior midfielder Tim Kelly of Kalamazoo, Mich., and junior back Steve Lepper of Midland, Mich.
A young Flying Dutch women's soccer team came on strong during the league season. Winners of just one of their first six games, coach Leigh Sears' Dutch rallied to win 11 of their next 14 to finish second in the MIAA and end the season at 12-7-1.
Sophomore midfielder Dawn Gillam of Portage, Mich. was named a first team All-MIAA honoree. Two freshmen, defender Erica Pagorek of Munster, Ind. and midfielder Tess Scholz of Portage, Mich., were named to the second team.
Hope sophomore Justin Spyker captured MIAA men's golf medalist honors in men's golf in a most unusual way.
The season's final conference tournament was held at Hope's home course. Spyker entered the tournament in second place in the player standings, needing to finish what appeared to be an insurmountable seven strokes better than the league leader.
But he did just that, shooting a 73 under ideal conditions at the Wuskowhan Players Club. That put Spyker at an average of 75.28 strokes over the season's tournaments while runner-up Jason Miller of Olivet ended at 75.33. It marked the fifth consecutive year that a Hope golfer is the MIAA medalist. Olivet dethroned the Flying Dutchmen as conference champion.
Gaining All-MIAA second team honors were freshman Alden Hoksbergen of Holland, Mich. who was ninth in the player standings and sophomore Ryan Shedd of Coldwater, Mich. who ranked 11th.
In women's golf, three Hope athletes achieved All-MIAA recognition as the Flying Dutch finished second in the MIAA standings.
Senior Emily Colenbrander of Holland, Mich. achieved All-MIAA first team honors by finishing third in the player standings while teammates Sarah Scholten, a junior from Grand Rapids, Mich., and Brittany Philo, a freshman from Greenville, Mich., were All-MIAA second team.
The honor was especially meaningful for Colenbrander whose older sister Ellen was also an All-MIAA first teamer at Hope from 1996-99.
The Flying Dutchmen placed second in the MIAA football race, finishing the season with a three-game winning streak and overall 5-5 record.
The Flying Dutchmen had an effective passing attack. Junior quarterback Phil Butler of Howard City, Mich. broke every Hope single season passing record, throwing 31 touchdown passes. Senior receiver Joel Solomon of North Branch, Mich. became the first Hope player to have pass receptions for more than 1,000 yards in a season.
Two senior players achieved All-MIAA first team recognition. Punter Vince Scheffler of Chelsea, Mich. was voted to the first team for the third time in his career while senior offensive tackle Bill Crane of Cedar Springs, Mich. was honored for the second time.
Players named to the All-MIAA offensive second team were senior center Josh Rumpsa of Grand Rapids, Mich., Joel Solomon and Phil Butler of Howard City, Mich. Second team All-MIAA defensive honorees included senior tackle Andy Keller of Hastings, Mich., senior linebacker Josh Baumbach of Wyoming, Mich., junior linebacker Matt Beaver of Gladwin, Mich., and senior back Matt Baumbach of Wyoming, Mich.
The Flying Dutch finished fourth in the MIAA standings while posting an overall 17-14 mark. Senior co-captains Martha Luidens of Holland, Mich. and Kara VanAssen of Jenison, Mich. were named to the coaches' All-MIAA volleyball teams, Luidens to first team and Van Assen to the second.
The Flying Dutch finished second in the MIAA women's cross country standings while the Flying Dutchmen were third in the men's.
Achieving All-MIAA first team honors were sophomore Tina Pike of Rochester, Minn. and senior Kristen Post of Holland, Mich. Second team honorees were freshman Chris Alcenius of Horton, Mich., freshman Justin Blazek of Portage, Mich., freshman Greg Borst of Jenison, Mich., junior Peter Derby of Cadillac, Mich. junior Martha Graham of Midland, Mich., senior Leticia Grandia of Rockford, Mich., junior Kyle Morrison of Niles, Mich., junior Rachel Riemer of Ludington, Mich., and senior Kathryn Veldman of Three Oaks, Mich., freshman Tyson Warner of Portage, Mich., freshman Ryan Weaver of Saline, Mich., and freshman Kyle Williams of Plainwell, Mich.