Hope College goalie Nick Schanhals co-headlines the 2019 All-Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Men’s Lacrosse Team as Most Valuable Defensive Player.
The senior from North Muskegon, Michigan (North Muskegon HS) is the Flying Dutchmen’s second MIAA Most Valuable Player. He follows teammate Rocco Mularoni, who claimed the Offensive MVP honor as a sophomore in 2018.
Schanhals helped Hope repeat as outright MIAA regular-season champion by recording a league-leading 6.61 goals against average during MIAA games. He started all six league games as the Flying Dutch went undefeated in league play.
Schanhals made 53 saves against MIAA opponents in 299 minutes, 38 seconds this season.
“Nick is tough. He plays hard every day and is a fierce competitor,” said head coach Michael Schanhals, Nick’s father. “He does an excellent job communicating and coordinating our defense.”
Schanhals is joined on the All-MIAA First Team by teammates Gino Battaglia (midfield), Andrew Caris (defense), Max Kuiper (attack) and Cole Scheffler (face-off mid).
Hope also had five second-team selections: Brayden Blackburn (long pole), Liam Cunningham (short pole), Nathaniel Hentschel (midfield), Tucker Martinez (defense) and Jack Radzville (attack).
Kuiper recorded the third-most assists during MIAA games with 13. The junior from Grand Rapids, Michigan (Forest Hills Central) also tied for the fourth-most goals with 16.
Kuiper receives All-MIAA First Team honors for the second consecutive season.
“Max makes plays. He has had a knack for coming up big for us in crucial moments this conference season, including creating a turnover on the ride against Albion and converting it into a goal,” Michael Schanhals said. “Max is part of a dynamic attack line alongside Rocco and Jack. They have excellent chemistry and they create opportunities for their teammates.
“Jack is smooth. He has great hands, footwork and keeps his eyes up as a playmaker for our offense.”
Battaglia volunteered to change positions this season and moved from forward to midfield. The senior from Dayton, Ohio (Lebanon) contributed 11 goals and four assists this season against MIAA opponents.
“Gino leads by example,” Michael Schanhals said. “He has an outstanding work ethic, communication skills, and sense of joy when he practices and plays. Our team feeds off his energy.
“Nathaniel is explosive. He has an outstanding first step, creates separation, and has a hammer of a shot. He also runs the field, is tough on ground balls and shares the ball well.”
On defense, Caris claimed All-MIAA First Team honors for the second consecutive season and second time overall. The junior from Hartland, Michigan (Detroit Catholic Central) ranked third with 13 caused turnovers during league matches.
“Andrew is dynamic. His highlight reel worthy moments are underpinned with an excellent aggressive lockdown tempo on defense for us,” Michael Schanhals said. “Andrew ground ball play and speed upfield generates fastbreak opportunities for us.
“Tucker is athletic. He is disciplined and dynamic defensively, and he is capable of creating turnovers and grabbing ground balls to spur transition.”
“Brayden is relentless. He works tenaciously off the wing on faceoffs, runs like a deer, is tough on ground balls and locks down his matchup.
“Liam is lightning fast. He flies around the field, is scrappy on ground balls, matches feet well in his defensive matchup and is an offensive threat in transition.”
Scheffler won 73.4 percent of faceoffs against MIAA opponents (58-79). The freshman from Rockford, Michigan (Rockford) is among five Hope freshmen to receive All-MIAA recognition.
“Cole is crafty. He has a variety of moves and counters, and brings an intelligent approach to his position,” Michael Schanhals said. “His excellence has created opportunities for us this season. Cole is half of our one-two punch at faceoff alongside Marshall VanBelkum.”