Last Saturday, Hope’s soccer teams played in purple jerseys with the names of their loved ones battling cancer across the back. The Purple Community soccer games benefitted the Van Andel Institute, with all proceeds donated to support biomedical research and science education at Van Andel, a world-class research institution fighting to find a cure for cancer.
Junior Jordan Hooker, who played for his mother who is currently in a 23 year battle against cancer, spoke on the personal importance of this game to him and his family: “What Van Andel Institute does is incredibly important, you continue to hear stories of those impacted by cancer, so continuing the efforts to find a cure is important. It’s awesome to be able to contribute by raising awareness and money for Van Andel Institute.” The women’s team also played for their family members whose lives have been changed by cancer. Senior Eliza Beird recently lost her grandfather unexpectedly to cancer and spoke on its impact: “Cancer is very aggressive. I know that firsthand. It can take someone you love. Anything we can do to help fight and find a cure is helping. Being able to support Van Andel Institute and other families who are going through what we’ve gone through means a lot to me and my family.”
The women’s team played first on Saturday against Capital University, winning the game 3-1. The 15th ranked team had never played Capital and weren’t sure what to expect, but they led with a goal early in the game by senior Hilary Curry with an assist from junior Abbey Prezkop. Capital was able to score their only goal of the game in the first half, but they couldn’t match up to Hope’s lead with two additional goals by junior Megan Bigelow.
Head coach Leigh Sears spoke on the pressure the team faced heading into the game: “I asked them ‘Who’s ever heard of Capital?’ Two hands went up. They’re a good team. They finished second in their conference. I’m glad we survived.” The men’s team followed with an incredible win against Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, with a score of 6-0, boosting their season record to a matching 6-0. Freshman Ryan Flynn led the team with three goals, followed by sophomore Ty Dalton at two goals. The final point was scored by another young player, freshman Brett Dyer. The men’s team plays tonight at home against Carthage College.
Come out and support the Flying Dutchmen!