by Alan Babbitt
The Hope College men's lacrosse team owned the first quarter for the third time this week and set itself up on Saturday for a third victory in as many days.
The Flying Dutchmen defeated visiting Wabash College (Indiana), 15-4, and improved to 5-1 overall behind a first-quarter flurry.
Hope never trailed and built an 8-2 lead during the opening 15 minutes of the non-league game. Goals came from seven different players.
The Flying Dutchmen outscored their three opponents the past three days by a combined margin of 20-3.
"Our game plan has been the same all season, but our discipline and playing together took a big step up this week," head coach Michael Schanhals said. "The guys really clicked."
Attacker Max Kuiper, pictured, totaled three goals and five assists to lead Hope. The junior from of Grand Rapids, Michigan (Forest Hills Central HS) equaled his career-high with five assists.
Kuiper came within one assist of matching the Van Andel Soccer Stadium men's lacrosse for assists in a match. Gunner Elder notched six during a 2016 game against Defiance College (Ohio), while Jacob Kamstra had six vs. Dubuque University (Iowa) in 2014.
The Flying Dutchmen received two goals apiece from four players: senior Matthew Harkema of St. Louis Park, Minnesota (St. Louis Park), junior Rocco Mularoni of Hartland, Michigan (Detroit Catholic Central), sophomore Stephen Holpuch of Oswego, Illinois (Oswego) and sophomore Luke Elder of Grand Rapids, Michigan (East Grand Rapids).
Hope's next match is Saturday, March 23 at Illinois Wesleyan University.
"It was a nice to be at home for that three-game stretch and play," Schanhals said ."It was nice to get in front of your own people. It's a special environment at Van Andel. You could see the smiles on the young guys' faces at halftime."