Seasons begin for basketball, hockey, swimming and diving
Men’s Basketball (5-1)
After opening their season with an exhibition game against the Indiana University Hoosiers, the Hope College Flying Dutchmen returned to DIII competition opening their regular season in Wisconsin with a Tip-off tournament hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Stout. In their first game of the season, Hope got off to a hot start and didn’t let up. They took their biggest lead of the game in the first half when Zach Littleson (’17) hit a three-pointer giving his team the 36-11 advantage. The Dutchmen went on to win 70-50. Hope’s Harrison Blackledge (’17) scored a game-high 21 points, Teddy Ray (’19) had 12 points in his first collegiate start and Dante Hawkins (’18) finished with eight points, seven rebounds and a game-high six assists to lead the Dutchmen. Mitch O’Brien (’17) and Cody Stuive (’17) chipped in 10 and six points respectively while Suive also hauled in a game high 11 rebounds.
The following day, Hope took on the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and won a close, hard-fought game. Once again, Blackledge scored a game-high 34 points shooting 83.3 percent (15-18) from the field. The 15 baskets made are the fourth-most by any Flying Dutchmen player in a game. Dan Shinabarger (’72) holds the team record of 22 from his record-setting 51-point performance against Albion College in 1970. Two other Hope players scored in double digits, Stuive had 13 and Chad Carlson (’17) had 11 points to lead Hope to a 90-81 win and a 2-0 record to start the season.
Hope returned home over Thanksgiving weekend for their first two games at DeVos Fieldhouse this season in the Grand Rapids Sports Hall of Fame Classic against NAIA schools Aquinas College and Cornerstone University. Hawkins stole the show against Aquinas, netting a career-high 24 points to lead the Dutchmen and Blackledge recorded his first double-double of the season with 19 points and 11 boards, powering Hope to a 93-80 victory.
On Saturday, Hope went up against Cornerstone University for the GRSOFC title. Unfortunately, the Eagles were just too much for the Dutchmen beating them handily 95-78. Despite the loss, Blackledge, Hawkins and Carlson all had great games. Blackledge dropped a team-high 26 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Hawkins recorded 18 points and dished out three assists, while Carlson put up 17 points including five three pointers. Both Blackledge and Hawkins were named to the all-tournament team.
Hope traveled down to Ohio on Tuesday, Nov. 29 for a road test against fellow DIII school John Carroll University. The Dutchmen got back on track behind Blackledge’s 32 point performance, the second time this season he has scored 30 points or more. Blackledge also had a game-high nine rebounds to lead his team to an 85-72 win. Hawkins chipped in 10 points and Stuive and Ray notched nine points a piece.
Hope was home again this past Saturday as they took on the Eagles of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Sophomore Teddy Ray turned in a break-out performance scoring 15 points and going 8-8 from the foul line. Blackledge, Hawkins and Stuive all finished with double-digit point totals as Blackledge had 16 points, Hawkins had 15 points and Stuive had a season-high 14 points as Hope downed the Eagles 80-75.
The Dutchmen will be back in action this Saturday when they take on the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point at DeVos Fieldhouse at 7:00 p.m. Wear orange and come support your basketball team!
Swimming and diving
Hope’s swimming and diving teams have also gotten their seasons underway. The men started off strong with a win over Kalamazoo College and turned in two 7th place finishes at the University of Chicago and two 5th place finishes at Wheaton. The women took a loss at Kalamazoo to start the season, but have since posted 6th and 8th place finishes at the University of Chicago and two 4th place finishes at Wheaton this past weekend.
Both teams will be back in action when they travel to Calvin College for an MIAA meet on Jan. 7.
The hockey team has played the most games of any winter sports team so far, and as always, Hope hockey is off to a good start.
This past weekend, the team handed #1 ranked Calvin its first loss of the season. Team captain Garrett Gormley (’18) scored the first two goals of the game, giving Hope a 2-0 lead midway through the second period. After Calvin responded with two quick goals, defenseman Elliot Digison (’17) re-took the lead for Hope with just over a minute remaining in a crazy second period. Cole Devos (’19) added an empty netter with 10 seconds left to seal the win for the Dutchmen.
The hockey team will be back in action this Friday when they take on Northwood University at Edge Ice Arena at 7:00 p.m. Come out and support the hockey team!
Women’s Basketball (7-0)
The Hope women are off to a red hot start offensively, averaging nearly 93 points per game en route to a seven game win streak to start the season. There was no shortage of drama in their first game of the season, as they defeated Wheaton College on a last second layup from Madison Geers (’18). Hope’s starting lineup accounted for 84 of their 99 points. Geers and Mandy Traversa (’17) both had 15 points, Francesca Buchanan (’19) had a team-high 27 points, Tyra Smith (’18) chipped in nine points and Angelique Gaddy (’17) finished with 18 points. Elizabeth Perkins (’17) came off the bench to put up 13 points in the win.
Hope continued its winning ways when they hosted the Tip-off Tournament at DeVos Fieldhouse Nov. 18-19. The Dutch defeated Finlandia University and Franklin University to win the title. Geers, Buchanan and Gaddy were all named to the all-tournament team.
Hope turned in a total team effort in the complete destruction of Rochester College on Nov. 22 as every player on the roster scored at least one basket in the 107-65 victory.
In their first two MIAA match ups, Hope defeated both Calvin and Adrian College by more than 20 points.
Outside that first game against Wheaton, the Flying Dutch have not been challenged at all this season. No other team has come within 20 points of beating the Dutch who have compiled an average margin of victory over 30 points. Hope will continue MIAA action this Saturday when they travel to Alma College to take on the Scots at 3:00 p.m.