This is the final issue of The Anchor this year and, subsequently, the final Anchor sports update of the year. Here is one final update on the state of Hope College athletics this spring. We hope you find it informative.
The men’s lacrosse team got off to a rocky start this season, dropping their first three games. Fortunately, they padded their schedule with non-conference contests at the beginning of the year. After those three losses, the team seems to have had a wake-up call. They fired off nine straight wins, breaking the program win streak record. Then April brought about the MIAA portion of the schedule. The men took their first three conference games in stride, defeating Calvin College, Adrian College and Kalamazoo College handily. With high hopes, they entered the second half of conference play and dropped their game with league leader Alma College by one point. Most recently, they suffered a crushing loss to Olivet College 23-7. The Dutchmen have just two conference games left this season before the MIAA tournament, against Albion College and Trine University. They sit tied for third in the standings at 3-2 in conference play. After failing to make a tournament appearance last year, this team is ready to fight through the end of the season. Watch for the men’s lacrosse team in the MIAA tourney in the first week of May.
The Flying Dutch lacrosse team has been impressive this season. Their 6-3 record, while still stellar, is misleading. These ladies have been tearing up the MIAA. After winning their season opener against Otterbein College, the girls took on Davenport University before heading to California for a pair of games in the sun. They dropped all three of these contests, providing themselves with a heavy loss column. Like their male counterparts, the women’s lacrosse team is not one to count out. Since MIAA league play begun, ,the girls are a perfect 6-0 against MIAA opponents. They have just Calvin, Trine and St. Mary’s College to take on before their chance at a tournament championship.
The women’s tennis team just needed a little sun and warm weather to get their swings calibrated. They dropped all four contests they had in February before sweeping March and their training trip 4-0. They returned to the Midwest and dropped a tightly contested match against Kenyon College before ripping off a nine-game winning streak which has stretched significantly into MIAA play. They have taken out Calvin, St. Mary’s, Alma, Albion and Adrian. They have contests against Kalamazoo and Olivet remaining before the tournament on May 5-6. The Dutch sit tied for first in the MIAA standings with Kalamazoo. At 13-9 their overall record eclipses the Hornet’s greatly, but their matching 5-0 MIAA record keeps them in a jam for the overall No. 1. Calvin sits just behind at 5-2.
Speaking of slow starts, the men’s tennis team coined the term this year. After losing their one match in January and stumbling through five losses and a tie in February, the team finds themselves sitting in second behind perennial champion Kalamazoo in the conference standings. Their training trip in Florida gave them their first win of the season. They returned for MIAA play in March and started grinding. They took down Trine, Calvin, Alma, Albion and Adrian. They have one final match against Olivet on Mar. 27. At 6-11 overall and 5-2 in MIAA play, the men have found a way to stay relevant this year. Kalamazoo recently captured their 78th straight regular-season title. As usual, the rest of the conference is playing for second, and the Dutchmen this year have just as good of a chance as anyone.
Flying Dutch softball has packed in an impressive 34 games since their opening day on March 18 in Clermont, Florida. On their trip down south, they won nine of 12 games and got off to a hot streak.
After returning home, the girls hit a bit of a slump, dropping a pair of games to Aurora College, as well as Alma and splitting a double with Trine. They then travelled to the Illinois Wesleyan Tournament where they lost three of four games. Hungry for some wins and to climb in the MIAA rankings, the softball team took double wins against Kalamazoo, Olivet and Albion. Last weekend, they took a close game from St. Mary’s before dusting them 7-0. Their next two MIAA contests come against Calvin on April 27 and Adrian on April 30. Currently, they sit in third place behind Alma and Trine who share 11-1 MIAA records. The Dutch command their spot with a 9-3 record ahead of fourth place St. Mary’s 7-5. Calvin and Adrian, their remaining opponents, sit sixth and seventh in the conference at 5-7 and 4-8, respectively. With wins against these inferior teams, expect this team, like many others here at Hope, to make a promising and impressive run at a high finish in the conference.
The Holland Homer’s season could be described as a roller coaster. They split their opening series 2-1 then travelled down to Florida to take on some far-flung competition. They took the first game 3-2 and the second game 11-6. Their success in Florida ended there, however; they dropped the rest of their games on the trip and returned to campus 4-9. The MIAA season then got underway with a series against Alma. They won the first game but lost the remaining three. Against Calvin, the baseball team won both games at home but dropped the two in Grand Rapids. The boys performed better against Kalamazoo. They won the series 3-1, then moved on to sweep the hapless Olivet Comets. Their winning ways continue through to the present, defeating Trine 3-1 in their series last week. Albion and Adrian will give the Dutchmen their final test with a two four-game series to close out the season.
May brings about the MIAA tournament, where the Dutchmen will be playing for keeps. Adrian sits at first in the conference with a 17-3 record. The Dutchmen are tied with Kalamazoo for second with four less wins. A solid showing in their final series with the Bulldogs could poise them for a shot at the title.
The men hit the links for the spring portion of their season following an MIAA title in the fall. They have played in four tournaments and taken first in three of them, finishing runnerup in the remainder.
The MIAA began its selection process for the automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championships last week. Hope finished the first round in first and will host the final two 18- hole rounds at Wuskowhan Player’s Club this coming weekend. The MIAA team with the lowest cumulative score will earn the conference’s automatic national bid.
From the women’s tees, Hope is continuing their success. The Flying Dutch golf team kicked off their spring season with four straight invitational wins; from home to Florida, these girls can strike. They then took down Calvin in match play 5-0-1, before heading to the Wisconsin-Whitewater Invitational at which they finished third.
Their national qualification process is the same as the men; the first round of the women’s qualifying tournament will kick off on Wednesday, April 25, 2016. The women, like the men, are defending a MIAA championship from this fall and are the favorite to win this year’s bid.