A nationally ranked defense from the Hope College men's lacrosse team created the final turnover it needed against Alma on a long Wednesday night in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Tournament.
The Flying Dutchmen ran out the final 36 seconds after forcing the Scots to give up possession and claimed an 8-7 semifinal victory.
Top-seeded Hope (15-1 overall) advanced to their first championship and have an opportunity to earn a trip to the NCAA Division III Tournament.
The Flying Dutchmen will host either Albion on Saturday at 7 p.m.
Hope endured two long lightning delays and a determined opponent on Wednesday at Van Andel Soccer Stadium. The match took three hours to complete between both stoppages.
Photo by Andrew Pavey by Lynne Powe
Alma (7-11 overall) twice rallied from three-goal deficits during the second half. The Scots scored twice in a four-minute span in the fourth quarter to cut the Flying Dutchmen lad to 8-7 with 6:10 remaining.
Two saves by goalie Nick Schanhals of North Muskegon, Michigan (North Muskegon HS) and three turnovers kept Alma off the scoreboard. The Flying Dutchmen entered the match ranked in third in the nation in goals allowed per game at 5.47.
Schanhals, named to the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association Team of the Week of Tuesday, finished with 11 saves.
Offensively, senior Grant Brogan of East Lansing, Michigan (East Lansing HS) topped Hope with three goals. He scored twice during the first half to help give the Flying Dutchmen a 5-3 halftime lead.
Hope coach Michael Schanhals was proud of his team's perseverance amid a challenging week.
"The guys are in the middle of exams. They're tired. We weren't as sharp with ground balls as we usually are. That's been a big advantage for us," Schanhals said after his team avenged a one-goal home loss to Alma in last season's MIAA Tournament semifinal."We have been tough enough to figure out whatever we need to do to get the job done. It wasn't pretty tonight, but it was effective."