Hope falters in second round of NCAA play

Hope College women’s soccer began last weekend on a high note. The Dutch entered the first round of the NCAA Division III National Tournament fresh off of an exciting MIAA Championship win. With a chance to make their presence known on the national stage, Hope faced off against Wisconsin-Whitewater on Friday at the University of Chicago.

Hope claimed a 1-0 victory over their competition in the 29-degree weather a win that set more than one record. It was both the 16th shutout on the year and the 19th overall win for this Flying Dutch team—school records for the program.

Rylie Dalton (’19) had the solo goal for the Dutch, scoring off a rebound just after halftime to put Hope ahead. It was Dalton’s eighth goal on the season.

Keeper Jordanne Ellingboe (’21) also had an impressive performance for Hope, contributing two saves to establish her 13th shutout on the season, the second-most for any goalie in program history. Hope recorded 11 shots (six on goal) to Wisconsin-Whitewater’s seven (two on goal), staying true to the trademark offensive intensity that has defined Hope’s season.

The Dutch advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division III Tournament last Saturday, where they met the tournament hosts, the University of Chicago.

Hope’s season ended at the hands of this nationally-ranked opponent, 4-0. Chicago is ranked third and fourth nationally in two separate soccer polls, and certainly proved formidable as they scored on the Hope defense, which had until that point only allowed eight goals all season and never more than two in a single mach.

The Dutch finished with an overall record of 19-3-1, the winningest season in program history. Departing captain Erin Brophy (’18) had enormously positive words in regards to her team, despite the loss. “This whole year was just one of the best years ever,” she said in a post-game interview. “This season is not one to hang our heads about.”

Fellow senior and co-captain (‘18) Allie Wittenbach ‘expressed similar sentiments, saying, “We accomplished what we wanted to accomplish…this group is a really special group. I’m certain I won’t be part of something this special for a long time, if ever again.”

This team truly is something very special. With an outright MIAA Championship victory, and MIAA Tournament win, and an excellent showing in the NCAA Division III National Tournament, this team has risen to expectations again and again, and proved that they were worthy of the buzz and excitement that surrounded them from the very beginning of the season.

Thank you to the departing seniors for an excellent four years in the women’s soccer program, and congratulations to Coach Sears and the entire Flying Dutch squad for providing Hope College with such an exciting and rewarding season this year. See you next fall!

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