GREENCASTLE, Indiana – The Hope College Flying Dutch went 3-1 at the DePauw Invitational this weekend to continue their hot start to the season. This leaves Hope with a 10-1 overall record and a 3-0 MIAA record.
The team defeated Hanover College in their first match on Friday, rallying in five sets 19-25, 17-25, 25-23, 32-30 and 15-9. After dropping the first two, the Dutch roared back to win three straight sets behind Katie Rietberg’s (’19) career-high 25 kills.
Unfortunately, they couldn’t keep up in their second match against DePauw University, losing in three sets (11-25, 21-25, 24-26). However, Hope did bounce back to defeat Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology 3-1 (22-25, 25-17, 25-22, 25-15) and No. 24 Millkin University 3-0 (25-21, 25-18, 25-10) to close out the weekend.
Both Rietberg and Courtney Van Houzen (’17) were chosen as all-tournament team selections. During the Hanover match, Van Houzen had a season high of 14 kills, to go along with Rietberg’s 25. Three other Dutch reached double-digit kills in the match.
Hope’s live stream commentator Carley Van Swol (’19) mentioned that Sophia Hackett (’18) is also a key piece to this year’s team and has done well stepping into her new role as starting setter.
“She plays defense even though you don’t expect her to,” said Van Swol. Hackett achieved a career-high 50 assists on Friday against Hanover and is averaging 10 assists per set this season.
Van Swol is also looking forward to the Hope-Calvin rivalry match on Sept. 28.
“I think they’re really going to give Calvin a run for their money this year,” Van Swol said.
The Flying Dutch are tied for first place in the MIAA with Calvin who is 10-0 overall and 4-0 in conference. Hope is ranked seventh nationally behind Emory University (GA), who they defeated for the national title in 2014.
Outside hitter Leah Dunlap (’18) attributed Hope’s success to their team’s chemistry.
“Everybody seems to be forcing new things with new setters and new liberos, and it’s working out really well,” said Dunlap. She’s excited for the prospect of another national championship title.
“Oh, we’re going for it,” said Dunlap. The Flying Dutch won the national title in 2014, finishing their season with a NCAA Division III-best 34-2 record.
The Flying Dutch will be back in action this weekend with home MIAA matchups against St. Mary’s College on Friday and Adrian College on Saturday.