The Hope College volleyball team is the team to beat in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association this season according to the leagues coaches.
Coach Becky Schmidts Flying Dutch topped the 2014 MIAA Preseason Coaches poll announced on Wednesday, August 13.
Hope received six first-place votes and totaled 10 points. Coaches could not vote for their own teams.
The Flying Dutch finished three points ahead of Calvin College, the 2013 NCAA Division III national champion. Hope and Calvin shared the MIAA regular-season title in 2013. Calvin collected the other three first-place votes for second place, while Saint Marys (Indiana) placed third with 23 points.
MIAA Preseason Coaches Poll
1. Hope (6) 10. 2. Calvin (3) 13. 3. Saint Mary's 23. 4. Trine 29. 5. Alma 41. 6. Kalamazoo 42. 7. Olivet 50. 8. Adrian 52. 9. Albion 64.
Hope is coming off a 2013 season in which the Flying Dutch advanced to the national quarterfinals of the NCAA Division III Championship they hosted at DeVos Fieldhouse.
This season, the Flying Dutch return two-time All-America outside hitter Jenna Grasmeyer of Jenison, Michigan (Hudsonville Unity Christian HS) and fellow captains Lauren Hazekamp of Fruitport, Michigan (Fruitport HS) and Jillian Sommerville of Plymouth, Michigan (Salem HS). Hazekamp, a setter, also earned All-America honors last season as a sophomore.
Hope opens the 2014 season on Friday and Saturday, August 29-30, at the Wittenberg (Ohio) University tournament. The Flying Dutch's home opener is Tuesday, September 2, against MIAA rival Adrian College.