Seven Men's Soccer Players Earn All-MIAA Recognition

by Alan Babbitt

The Hope College men's soccer trio of midfielder Isaac Braak, midfielder Ryan Flynn and defender Jordan Hooker have claimed All-Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association First Team honors for the 2019 season.

Also, forward Alec Belcastro was chosen as the MIAA Newcomer of the Year. He was among four second-team honorees along with senior forward Logan Bylsma of Hudsonville, Michigan (Hudsonville), junior midfielder Ty Dalton of Rockford, Michigan (Rockford) and sophomore defender Brett Dyer of Northport, Michigan (Northport).

Hope finished runner-up in the MIAA standings with a 6-1 league record.

Braak earned All-MIAA honors for the third time in his college career. The senior midfielder from Grand Haven, Michigan (Grand Haven HS) has one goal and a team-high seven assists in 18 matches this season, including two assists against MIAA foes.

Alec Belcastro, Logan Bylsma, Ty Dalton and Brett Dyer pose for portraits "Isaac is the real engine of our team, and I think of as a highly respected player across the conference," head coach Dave Brandt said. "He is extremely deserving of the honor."

Hooker helped a defense that has shut out 10 opponents this season, including four in MIAA matches. The senior from Grand Rapids, Michigan (East Grand Rapids) has started all 18 matches this season.

"Jordan had a breakout year playing his third different position," Brandt said. "He's new to the center back role and has had a great year solidifying our back four this year."

Flynn aided Hope's defensive effort. The sophomore from Bloomington, Illinois (Bloomington) also chipped in five goals and two assists this season, including two goals and one assist during MIAA play.

"Ryan's been a real rock in defensive midfield," Brandt said. "He has really established himself as one of the top midfielders in the conference this year in his sophomore season."

Belcastro's debut season with the Flying Dutchmen saw him finish second on the team in scoring with 10 goals and a team-high seven assists. The sophomore from Washington, Pennsylvania (Kiski School) had five game-winning goals, two of which came against MIAA foes.

Belcastro contributed four goals and five assists in MIAA matches. He tied for the most assists in conference play this season and collected the fourth-most points.

"Alec's made an immediate impact, not only on our team, but in our conference," Brandt said. "He is one of the best attacking players in the conference."

Bylsma led Hope in goal scoring for the second consecutive season with 13 goals, including five game-winners. In MIAA play, the senior forward from Hudsonville, Michigan (Hudsonville) shared the league goal with seven goals.

"Another another great and impactful year up top for Logan," Brandt said. "He was our key goal scorer for the second year in a row and very deserving of all-conference recognition."

Dalton scored three goals for the Flying Dutchmen. The junior midfielder from Rockford, Michigan (Rockford HS) also contributed in other areas on the field.

"His tireless play on both sides of the ball has been a huge factor in our success this year," Brandt said.

Dyer, a sophomore defender from Northport, Michigan (Northport) contributed greatly on the back line for Hope. 

"Brett's been both a lockdown defender at left back and a key piece of the attack and supplying crosses from the left side," Brandt said.