The nationally ranked Hope College men's soccer team is poised in 2014 to continue an extended streak of success that includes 15 consecutive winning seasons.
Coach Steven Smith's 2014 roster of 29 players features eight seniors, eight juniors, five sophomores and eight freshmen.
No. 21-ranked Hope kicks off the season on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 29-30, when the Flying Dutchmen host the 13th Cal Bergsma Memorial Invitational. Hope plays North Central (Illinois) on Friday and eighth-ranked Ohio Wesleyan on Saturday.
Senior co-captains are midfielder Cameron Dice of Allendale, Michigan (Hudsonville Unity Christian HS), midfielder Connor Kogge of Holt, Michigan (Mason HS) and back Logan Sikkenga of Hudsonville, Michigan (Hudsonville HS).
Hope was picked second in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association preseason coaches poll. The Flying Dutchmen are coming off a 2013 season in which they advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division III Tournament and posted a 17-5-2 record. Hope qualified for postseason play by winning the MIAA Tournament after finishing second in the regular-season standings.
The Flying Dutchmen return several players who received postseason accolades.
Senior midfielder Tarwo Konbloa of Kentwood, Michigan (Kentwood HS) claimed Central Region Third Team honors from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America as well as All-MIAA First Team recognition. Konbloa netted six goals and four assists last season.
Senior back Logan Sikkenga of Hudsonville, Michigan (Hudsonville HS), also was a All-MIAA First Team honoree in 2013. Sikkenga is Hope's top returning goalscorer with seven last season.
Dice and junior goalie Ethan Beswick of Grand Haven, Michigan (Grand Haven HS, were second-team picks. Dice tied third on the team with six goals and added six assists. Beswick went 14-3-2 with three shutouts and a 1.08 goals against average.
Junior midfielder Toby Blom of Holland, Michigan (Holland Christian HS), was named Hope's Most Improved Player in the 2013 season by his teammates.
Smith, pictured above, is the dean of MIAA coaches as he heads into his 25th season. He has a league record of 230-65-20 that trails in MIAA history only hall of fame coach Hardy Fuchs of Kalamazoo College, who won 254 MIAA matches from 1971 through 2002. Hope has won 73 percent of its matches during Smith's tenure. Smith is 21st among active Division III coaches with an overall win percentage of 72.6.