Nancy Benda’s impact on the Hope College women’s tennis team can be seen all through its undefeated run through the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association.
The senior from Birmingham, Michigan (Seaholm HS) has been chosen the MIAA’s MVP after
playing No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles for the MIAA champion Flying Dutch. Hope won
all 72 flights this season en route to an 8-0 league championship record and the No.
1 seed for the MIAA Tournament.
Benda joins a group of Hope MIAA MVPS that includes: Samantha Stille (2009), Anneliese Fox (2004-06), Kristin Kooyers (2001), Jennifer Smith (2000), Lindsay Etheridge (1998), Audrey Coates (1995-97), Dani Zurchauer (1990), Colleen Sandro (1989, 1986), and Kim Baxter (1987).
Benda headlines a six-player, All-MIAA First Team that includes two freshmen teammates: Amanda Bandrowski of Traverse City, Michigan (St. Francis) and Claire Hallock of Lakeland, Florida (Harrison Center).
Sophomore Taylor LaBarge of Hudsonville, Michigan (Hudsonville) made All-MIAA Second Team by the league’s coaches.
“Nancy is our team's toughest competitor,” interim head coach Nate Price said of his captain, “and provides her teammates with a great example of how to play with grit.”
Benda went 8-0 against MIAA opponents in both singles and doubles play this season. She paired with freshman Quincey Glupker of Grandville, Michigan (Grandville).
She became Hope’s all-time leader in doubles wins during an April 1 against Calvin.
Benda is the fifth Flying Dutch player to earn All-MIAA First Team honors all four years.
She follows Samantha Stille (2006-09), Anneliese Fox (2003-06), Audrey Coates (1994-97), and Kim Baxter (1984-87) as four-time recipients.
Bandrowski went 8-0 against MIAA opponents while playing No. 2 singles and No. 2 doubles for Hope.
“Amanda has a great passion for tennis and loves immersing herself in all things tennis related!” Price said.
Hallock did not lose to a league opponent at either No. 3 singles or No. 3 doubles with partner Christin Drozd of Allegan, Michigan (Allegan).
“Claire has been a dominant force for our team, often winning by a sizable margin,” Price said. “She was nominated by her teammates as our team nominee for the conference’s sportsmanship award.”
LaBarge was undefeated in MIAA play while playing No. 4 singles and No. 2 doubles with Bandrowski.
“Taylor played a key role in winning her singles matches against regionally ranked opponents all season long,” Price said.