(Photos by Kelly Ocock)
During the fall sports pre- view, women’s soccer coach Leigh Sears made a point to dis- regard the first-place ranking her team received in the MIAA pre-season coach’s poll, emphasizing that rankings would mean nothing unless the Flying Dutch rose to the challenge. And now, four games into the season, it certainly looks like they have risen. Since opening their sea- son on Sept. 1, the Hope College women’s soccer team has gone 4-0, sidestepped two formidable MIAA rivals, shut out three opponents and averaged 4.5 goals a game. The Dutch have scored 18 goals this season and have only allowed two on defensive end of the field.
This hot streak began in Wisconsin last Friday as the Dutch opened their season against Milwaukee School of Engineering. Hope claimed a 4-2 win, with goals from Allie Wittenbach (’18), Erin Brophy (’18), Abbey Przekop (’20) and Grace Bubin (’19). To this date, the two goals scored by Milwaukee School of Engineering are the only goals that have been scored against the Dutch this season.
The Dutch continued their tour of Milwaukee with a 9-0 routing of Lake Forest. Przekop had two goals for the Dutch, with Wittenbach, Bubin, Anna Bremer (’19), Rylie Dalton (’20), Erin Brophy (’18), Hannah Landstrom (’21) and Audrey White (’21) each claiming one goal apiece. The team left Wisconsin on a high note and returned to Michigan ready to take on their MIAA opener.
Hope traveled to Albion next, where they faced their first league opponent of the year. Przekop had one goal and Hilary Curry (’19) had two to lead the Dutch to a 3-0 victory over the Britons. The Dutch continued to apply pressure on offense with 11 shots on goal, while the defense held Albion to just one.
Saturday’s Community Day home opener saw the Dutch pit- ted against another MIAA competitor as Adrian came to town. There was a large showing of Holland community members as Hope beat the Bulldogs 2-0, with goals by Curry and Dalton.
Hope women’s soccer has yet to disappoint in its first two weeks of play. Offensively, the Dutch have showcased powerful, attacking play, with many goal-scoring threats. The loss of All-American and national goal leader Elizabeth Pekins last year led to the question of who might fill her shoes. Instead of answering with just one name, the Flying Dutch have shown a dialed-up offense that will baffle opponents with multiple formidable threats, such as Przekop, Curry, Bubin, Wittenbach and a host of others. Hope’s defense has been stellar as well, setting the offense up for success by al- lowing only 10 shots on goal in the past four games. This team appears to be living up to the high expectations set for them during the pre-season, show- casing dominating, confident, high-level play. They will be an exciting team to watch this fall as their season progresses. The Dutch face off against Calvin at home this Saturday at noon.