As each point was earned, Danny Kroeze and Mark VanderStoep became more and more comfortable during their No. 1 doubles match in the Hope College men's tennis team's first postseason appearance in 21 years.
Their teammates followed suit.
The Flying Dutchmen advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division III Tournament for the second time in team history with a 5-0 victory against Franciscan (Ohio) University on Thursday at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio.
Hope, the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Tournament champions, will face No. 10-ranked Washington-St. Louis in Friday's 1 p.m. regional semifinal. The winner advances to Saturday's championship match.
Photo of Danny Kroeze by Kenyon College
Nate Price, a DeWitt Tennis Center pro who is filling in for head coach Bob Cawood at the NCAA Tournament, was proud of how the Flying Dutchmen responded as their matches progressed — beginning with doubles.
"It was tight in the beginning," Price said. "The guys kind of relaxed a little more. Everyone did a good job of holding their serve, particularly No. 1 doubles. With a little time, they were able to get more and more breaks. That loosened them up further so they could stretch their leads."
At No. 2 doubles, junior Michael Kiley of Muskegon, Michigan (Mona Shores) and freshman Carter Smiley of Minnetonka, Minnesota (Minnetonka) recorded an 8-1 victory for the Flying Dutchmen's first point of the match.
At No. 1 doubles, Kroeze, a sophomore from Holland, Michigan (Holland Christian HS), and VanderStoep, a junior from Holland, Michigan (West Ottawa), teamed for an 8-5 victory that put Hope ahead 2-0.
Playing to decision, the Flying Dutchmen claimed the final two points they needed with a 6-3, 6-1 victory from Folkert at No. 6 singles and a 6-1, 6-2 victory from Roe at No. 4 singles.