by Alan Babbitt
A three-peat bid for the Hope College men's lacrosse team starts with the Flying Dutchmen as the preseason favorite in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Preseason Coaches Poll.
The Flying Dutchmen are an unanimous favorite with all six possible first-place votes. Coaches could not vote for their own teams. Albion College, which finished second in the poll, received the other first-place vote.
Led by head coach Michael Schanhals, Hope is coming off a 14-4 season in 2019 where the Flying Dutchmen won the MIAA Tournament title and advanced to the NCAA Division III Tournament for the first time in team history.
Hope returns eight of its 10 All-MIAA honorees from last season, including three first-team selections: defender Andrew Caris of Hartland, Michigan (Detroit Catholic Central HS), attacker Max Kuiper of Grand Rapids, Michigan (Forest Hills Central), and face-off specialist Cole Scheffler of Rockford, Michigan (Rockford).
Five second-team selections are back as well: long-stick midfielder Brayden Blackburn of Muskegon, Michigan (Reeths Puffer), midfielder Liam Cunningham of South Lyon, Michigan (Detroit Catholic Central), midfielder Nathaniel Hentschel of Spring Lake, Michigan (Spring Lake), defender Tucker Martinez of Zeeland, MIchigan (Zeeland West), and attacker Jack Radzville of Howell, Michigan (Howell).
Hope's season opener is Saturday, February 29 at Augustana College (Illinois).