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Hope Roundup: Volleyball Wins, To Play In National Finals At DeVos

by Carolyn Binder


Hope Volleyball Wins, Earns Trip To DeVos For NCAA Championship

The desired destination has been reached. The Hope volleyball team is playing in the national finals on its home court.

The Flying Dutch beat host Elmhurst (Ill.) College 24-26, 25-20, 25-14, 25-15 on Saturday night to claim their second regional title in school history and advance to the NCAA Division III Championship at DeVos Fieldhouse on Nov. 21-23.

Second-ranked Hope (32-2 overall) will play Wisconsin-Stevens Point in Thursday’s national quarterfinals at a time to be announced. Stevens Point (34-4) ousted 2012 national champion St. Thomas (Minn.) in four sets Saturday night.

“We’re really excited. We cannot wait for it,” said junior Jenna Grasmeyer, an outside hitter from Jenison (Hudsonville Unity Christian HS). “It’s going to be really fun, really energetic. It’s going to be electric.”

Grasmeyer and her teammates are trying to become the first team to win a national title at home since Wisconsin-Whitewater in 2002.

Calvin also has punched a ticket back to DeVos after finishing as national runner-up last season. The five other quarterfinalists wil be determined on Sunday.

“That’s what we had in mind through our season this season,” senior middle hitter Mari Schoolmaster of Portage (Portage Central HS) of playing at DeVos. “We had little goals throughout the season … but in the back of our heads, we wanted to play in the NCAA tournament on our home court.”

Grasmeyer’s match-high 18 kills and Schoolmaster’s 12 helped the Flying Dutch defeated fifth-ranked Elmhurst (37-5) for the second time this season. Hope edged Elmhurst in a five-setter during an October tournament at DeVos Fieldhouse.

Sophomore setter Lauren Hazekamp of Fruitport (Fruitport HS) topped Hope with a match-high 45 assists and a team-high 15 digs.

Junior outside hitter Anna Lynch of Lakewood (Lake Odessa HS) totaled eight kills for Hope. Senior middle hitter Courtney Earles of Kentwood (East Kentwood HS) and junior outside hitter Amy VanderStoep of Holland (West Ottawa HS) added seven kills apiece.

The Flying Dutch improved defending Elmhurst’s diverse attack as the match progressed, Hope coach Becky Schmidt said.

“I think the adjustments we made in sets 2, 3 and 4 were critical to the success we had,” Schmidt said. “Credit to these players for being able to make the adjustments to the level we did. Our defense was fantastic.”

Hope’s last quarterfinal appearance came in 2009, when it defeated Tufts, Mass., in four sets. The Flying Dutch lost to eventual national champion Washington University in St. Louis in a five-set semifinal.


Flying Dutch Score 126 Points In Win

The Hope women’s basketball team set a school record for points in a game while winning the Chicago Marriott Naperville Tip-off Tournament on Saturday.

The nationally ranked Flying Dutch scored 71 first-half points defeated host North Central (Ill.) 126-56 to surpass their previous best of 118 points from a 2005 win over now Trine.

Junior forward Rebekah Llorens of Grayslake, Ill. (Grayslake Central HS), netted a game-high 23 points en route to Tournament Most Valuable Player honors for Hope (2-0 overall). She shot 9-of-14 from the field and 9-of-10 from the foul line.

Llorens averaged 17.5 points in the return to her home state.

Senior guard Brittany Berry of Grand Rapids (Catholic Central HS) and junior forward Maura McAfee of Midland (Midland HS) joined Llorens on the all-tournament team. McAfee netted 21 points against North Central (1-1), while Berry chipped in six with two 3-pointers.

North Central plays a Grinnell style of offense with full-court pressure defense and an emphasis on 3-point attempts. The Cardinals edged Ripon (Wis.) 113-111 in overtime in Friday’s semifinals.

The Flying Dutch picked apart North Central’s defense to shoot 57.6 percent from the field (49-of-85) and 68.6 percent from the foul line (24-of-35). Hope only attempted seven 3-pointers and made four of them.

“Most teams just aren’t deep enough. They’re playing 15-man rotation and rotate them every minute to minute-and-a-half. We rotated to a lot of people to keep our kids fresh.

“We had a really focused group of players. They executed the plan we laid out in the shootaround to perfection. I thought we really did a nice job of playing unselfishly, keeping our composure.”

Hope returns to action on Tuesday, Nov. 19, when it tips off Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) play at Calvin.


Flying Dutchmen Fall In OT At Wartburg In NCAA Action

A goal in the 98th minute dashed the Hope men’s soccer team’s dream of a Sweet 16 appearance as the Flying Dutchmen lost to Wartburg (Iowa) 2-1 on Saturday night.

The Flying Dutchmen finished with a 17-5-2 record after bowing out of the NCAA Division III Tournament in the second round.

“It’s a tough one,” sophomore goalie Ethan Beswick of Grand Haven (Grand Haven HS) said after making six saves. “Obviously we knew every 90 minutes we had to do everything we could and I can honestly say as a team tonight we did that. We didn’t play a perfect game, obviously, and I think we’ve played better this year, but sometimes the balls bounce the way they do and that’s what happens. We move forward from there.”

Hope’s 17 wins match the single-season school record from 2001, 2005 and 2002.

The Flying Dutchmen forced overtime when senior Jason Muller of Petoskey (Petoskey HS) scored an unassisted goal in the 77th minute. He struck 3 ½ minutes after Wartburg (17-4-2 overall) grabbed a 1-0 lead.

“I would love for championship games to not be decided in a setting like this, but that’s the way it goes. We’re used to it,” Hope coach Steven Smith said. “Mostly when it comes down to championship games like this, it’s heart. Tactics might not have been the best, but it’s hard to have tactics in a setting like this. It’s just a matter of heart and drive. So I think that’s what they did best, is they laid their hearts out on the field.

“I love them. I absolutely love their effort. I love their hearts. I love the fact four seniors continuously put the team on their backs and refuse to lose and they dug in. I told them I absolutely loved them with all my heart.”


Flying Dutch Finish Third At NCAA D-III Regional

The Hope women’s cross country team placed third at the NCAA Division III Great Lakes Regional on Saturday and is waiting for a possible at-large berth to the national championship meet.

The Flying Dutch finished with 105 points — one fewer than runner-up Oberlin (Ohio).

Calvin won the 33-team event at Gainey Athletic Complex with 54 points. The top two teams automatically qualify for the Division III finals in Hanover, Ind., on Saturday, Nov. 23.

Senior Meredith Busman of Coopersville (Coopersvile HS) led Hope by posting a 15th-place time of 22 minutes, 17.5 seconds.

Senior Sheri McCormack of Holland (West Ottawa HS) came in 17th for the Flying Dutch. The Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) Most Valuable Runner had a time 22:25.5.

Sophomore Casey Campbell of Swartz Creek (Swartz Creek HS) took 19th for Hope in 22:30.4, while senior Camille Borst of Allendale (Allendale HS) placed 20th at 22:32.4.

Freshman Erin Herrmann of Wheaton, Ill. (Wheaton-Warrenville South HS) rounded out the Hope’s scoring with a 39th-place effort of 22:56.5.


Flying Dutchmen Take Ninth At D-III Regional

The Hope men’s cross country came in ninth place at the 35-team NCAA Division III Great Lakes Regional at Gainey Athletic Complex in Grand Rapids.

The Flying Dutchmen totaled 282 points.

Sophomore Joseph Beemer of St. Joseph (St. Joseph HS) led Hope with the meet’s 33rd fastest time at 26 minutes, 4.4 seconds.

Junior Ben Zank of Midland (H.H. Dow HS) came in 55th at 26.23.6.

Senior James Rogers of Saginaw (Valley Lutheran HS) finished 58th in 26:25.69.

Senior Samuel Pederson of Mt. Prospect, Ill. (Prospect HS)placed 63rd in 26:35.4

Freshman Julian Morrison of Aurora, Ill. (Waubonsie HS) was 73rd in 26:46.2.

Wabash (Ind.) won with 60 points and end Calvin’s 17-year reign as a regional champion. Calvin was runner-up with 79 points.


Flying Dutchmen Fall To Albion 34-31, Finish Season 7-3

A share of a Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association championship and the NCAA Division III playoff berth eluded the Hope football team late on Saturday.

The Flying Dutchmen lost to Albion 34-31 after giving up a late touchdown drive and an overtime-forcing field goal hit off the left goal past at Ray & Sue Smith Stadium.

Hope (7-3 overall) tied for second in the MIAA with Kalamazoo with 4-2 league records, while Albion (8-2 overall) claimed an outright championship with a 6-0 mark.

It was a tough loss, Hope coach Dean Kreps said.

“I’m proud of our kids. We kept fighting. We could have laid down a couple of times there,” Kreps said. “We too the ball 80 yards in a minute to get it in position to tie it.”

The Flying Dutchmen march 48 yards in 41 seconds to give themselves a chance at a score-tying field goal of 31 yards.

The drive nearly answered a go-ahead series for Albion. The Britons answered a 17-yard touchdown recaption from junior Taylor Brynaert of Washington (Romeo HS) with a seven-play, 75-yard drive that resulted in a 4-yard touchdown pass with 51 seconds remaining.

Hope went 62 yards in nine players for a 31-27 lead with 1:57 remaining.

“We had some breakdowns, kept fighting through them, got back on top,” Kreps said. “It doesn’t just come down to the kick. We had other plays we could have done it. We shouldn’t have let them score. We had lots of stuff like that.”

Senior quarterback Michael Atwell of Geneseo, Ill. (Geneseo HS), threw for 337 yards and three touchdowns.

Atwell concludes his Flying Dutchmen career third with 6,505 passing yards. He trails only Phil Butler (8,810 between 2000-03) and current Hope assistant coach Jake Manning (6,855 between 2005-08).

Senior running back Shawn Jackson of Comstock Park (Comstock Park HS) ran for 126 yards on 26 carries. He finished with 3,294 career rushing yards, good for third place at Hope behind Brandon Graham (4,362 between 1995-97) and Davd Booko (3,635 between 2004-07).

Atwell and Jackson were among 13 seniors who played their final games for the Flying Dutchmen.


Flying Dutchmen Edge Michigan State 2-1

The Hope men’s hockey team completed a weekend American Collegiate Hockey Association sweep of Michigan State on Saturday, winning 2-1 on the road.

The Flying Dutchmen (11-2 overall) received goals from junior forward Jared Lehman of Carmel, Ind. (Watertown HS) and junior forward Rob Calvert of Ada (Forest Hills Eastern HS) Rob Calvert en route to their seventh consecutive win.

Senior goalie Drew Cook of Columbus, Ohio (Upper Arlington HS), stopped 28 shots for Hope.