The nationally ranked Hope College women’s soccer team will vie for a fourth consecutive Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association championship as the favorite in the league’s preseason coaches poll.
With 62 points, the Flying Dutch placed first in the poll announced on Tuesday.
Hope also received six of eight possible first-place votes. Coaches could not for their own team.
The Flying Dutch, the 2018 MIAA regular-season champion, finished three points ahead in the poll of second-place Adrian College, the 2018 MIAA Tournament champion.
Led by head coach Leigh Sears, Hope is coming off a 2018 season in which the Flying Dutch reached the third round of the NCAA Division III Tournament for the first time and posted a 16-3-2 overall record. The Flying Dutch also claimed their second consecutive outright regular-season MIAA title; they were co-champs in 2016.
Two starters return this season for Hope: senior midfielder Megan Bigelow of Flushing, Michigan (Flushing HS) and junior goalie Jordanne Ellingboe of Grand Haven, Michigan (Grand Haven).
The Flying Dutch’s season opener is August 30 at Van Andel Soccer Stadium against George Fox (Oregon). Kickoff is 4 p.m.
Hope is ranked 15th in the United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division III Preseason Poll.
MIAA Preseason Coaches Poll
1. Hope - 62 points (6 1st-place votes)
2. Adrian - 59 points (3 1st-place votes)
3. Calvin - 47 points
4. Albion - 45 points
5. Kalamazoo - 34 points
6. Olivet - 27 points
7. Trine - 21 points
8. Saint Mary's - 18 points
9. Alma - 11 points