After victories during week two over BR-163 Adrian and BR-90 Kalamazoo, BR-22 Hope found themselves sitting on a 5-0 record, earning the Flying Dutch a 14 position jump in our weekly rankings to top all gainers.
The opening match of the 2015 Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association conference action featured Hope, last season’s MIAA champion, facing this year’s preseason top pick Kalamazoo. Hope used three second half goals to top the Hornets 3-1, with all three goal-scorers for the Flying Dutch netted their first goals of the season. Sophomores Erin Brophy and Allie Wittenbach, and junior Natalie Curry all found the back of the net for their first goals of 2015.
After a 3-0 victory over BR-163 Adrian, featuring goals from Wittenbach, senior Kristin Hazlett, and freshman Rachael Braginton, Hope earned their top spot in our Biggest Movers, but the Flying Dutch didn’t stop there.
Looking ahead to week three, the Flying Dutch would hit the road for matches against BR-211 Triene and BR-161 Albion, before heading home for a weekend contest against BR-204 Olivet. Hope would sweep all three matches for the week, including a pair of one goal shutouts over Triene and Olivet, along with a 3-2 win over Albion.
Against Triene, sophomore goalie Mary Claire Theis was left to make just a single save, as the Flying Dutch defense allowed only one shot on goal, with the lone Hope goal coming from sophomore Erin Brophy.
Freshman Rylie Dalton posted her first-ever multi-goal game, including the game-winner in Hope’s 3-2 win over Albion. Wittenbach opened the scoring at the 16:16 mark, notching her third goal of the season off lead-pass from team assist leader Brophy.
With just eight minutes and 48 seconds remaining in regulation against Olivet, Braginton punched through her team leading seventh goal of the season off an assists from Brophy, to give Hope a 1-0 victory and their longest season-opening win streak in program history. The longest unbeaten streak for Hope is 11 games, and the 2003 squad opened 10-0-1. The Flying Dutch outshot the Comets by a 14-6 margin.
Braginton, a freshman from Grandville earned MIAA Player of the Week honors back in week one, scoring five goals over three matches to lead the Flying Dutch to a 3-0 start to their season. She registered a pair of two-goal games in a 5-0 win against Cornerstone and a 4-1 victory at BR-95 Otterbein. Braginton also scored a goal during a 3-0 win at BR-77 Ohio Northern.
The remainder of September will see matches against BR-119 Alma and BR-193 St. Mary’s (IN) this coming week, rounding out the month with a non-conference matchup against BR-23 Wheaton (Ill).
With a fourteen spot jump last week, and three solid performances in week three, the Flying Dutch should find themselves among the top ranking teams this season.