Defense leads Hope in 3-game win to win over St. Mary’s


YOUTH DAY— Gabbi Vachon (’20) gives a young fan an autograph after Hope swept St. Mary’s College Friday night. (Photo: Hope.edu)

HOLLAND, Michigan- The Hope College volleyball team improved their record to 5-0 in the MIAA and 12-1 overall with a win over St. Mary’s College on Friday night. Though the Flying Dutch swept their opponent, they still had to grind out all three games winning by scores of 25-21, 25-22 and 27-25. Leading the way offensively for the Dutch were Sarah Feldpausch (’17), who collected a season high 13 kills, along with Katie Rietberg (’19) and Haley Muller (’18) who each tallied 9 kills. Setter Sophia Hackett (’18) picked up 40 assists. Defensively, libero Alexis Thompson (’17) recorded 24 digs and Paige Baker (’18) picked up 4 blocks.

It wasn’t Hope’s best game all year, but they still managed to pull out the victory. Head coach Becky Schmidt alluded to this after the game telling me that “our passers did a great job of putting us in a good position to be successful,” but also acknowledged that they need to clean up the mistakes once the ball is passed and set. “At times, I thought we attacked in a way that was very challenging for St. Mary’s defense and other times we hit it right into their defense and made life very easy for them.” She also said that her team racked up 22 hitting errors, which, according to Schmidt, “is not good for what we want to accomplish,” especially if they want to beat bitter rival Calvin College, who the team will face Wednesday night at DeVos Fieldhouse. Schmidt also shed some light on that matchup, “we just need to take care of the ball on our side of the net, not worry what they’re doing and take advantage of the opportunities we are given. If we do that, I’m confident that we will have a good outcome.”

Though it wasn’t the wild and crazy Dew Crew that we will see on Wednesday, there were still quite a few students in attendance on Friday, including Junior Austin Gutting, who was attending his first volleyball game this year. “It’s really cool to see the team in action, I know quite a few of them from classes and getting to see them play is always exciting,” said Austin. He and the rest of the Hope student body are also looking forward to the Calvin game this week. “There’s such a deep tradition, huge student sections and the games are always really close. It’s a lot of fun.”

It was youth day at the game Friday, which means all kids in attendance were given the chance to come down to the court after the game to meet the team and receive autographs. This was a really cool sight to see, and the players did such a great job interacting with the kids and their parents. It is events like these that set Hope athletics and the whole Hope/Holland community apart. All of the athletes are so grateful for the community support and the community is grateful for exceptional student athletes their children get to look up to. There is a lot of mutual respect and it’s definitely a reason Hope leads division three sports in attendance just about every year. Hope is a very unique and tightly knit community, and youth day is one of the most important special events to keep the tradition of excellence and support alive.

Hope will be back in action on Wednesday night when they take on Calvin at DeVos Fieldhouse at 6:30 p.m.

MIAA Standings
Hope 6-0
Calvin 6-0
Adrian 4-2
St. Mary’s 3-3
Albion 2-4
Olivet 2-4
Alma 2-5
Trine 2-5
Kalamazoo 1-5

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