by Eva Dean Folkert
The Hope College men's tennis team is on its way back to the MIAA Tournament final for the second year in-a-row and will defend its 2018 title. The Flying Dutchmen defeated Calvin College in a MIAA semifinal match on Thursday, 5-1, at the DeWitt Tennis Center.
Second-seeded Hope (12-9 overall) advances to play one-seed and host Kalamazoo College on Saturday at 12 p.m. in the final. The winner receives the MIAA's automatic berth to the NCAA Division III Tournament.
In 2018, the Flying Dutchmen defeated Calvin College in the league tournament final, 5-1, as well.
In postseason play, the first team to win five matches wins.
The Flying Dutchmen started match by claiming two of three doubles matches.
Hope closed out Calvin (12-8) with three wins in singles matches. Junior Danny Kroeze of Holland (Holland Christian HS) rallied from a 4-1 deficit in his first set to win Hope's first singles victory at No. 4; then senior Michael Kiley of Muskegon (Mona Shores HS), at No. 3 singles followed with a straight-set win, as did senior Christian Rhoades of Holland (Holland Christian HS) at No. 5 singles.
"We talk about survive and advance at this point in the year," said head coach Bob Cawood. "The thing is, we survived and advanced today...we found a way, got the five points we needed. Now we have to really make sure that we show up in doubles (on Saturday) and we have to play our best match of the season (against Kalamazoo)."
Order of finish: #2, #3, #1
1. Mark VanderStoep (H) vs Jose Larrea (C), 4-6, 3-4, DNF
2. Tim Roe (H) vs Max Stallings (C), 6-1, 5-5, DNF
3. Michael Kiley (H) defeats Jason Wolters (C), 6-2, 6-1
4. Danny Kroeze (H) defeats Konner Shapiro (C), 6-4, 6-2
5. Christian Rhoades (H) defeats Brandon Johnson (C), 6-1, 6-3
6. Alec Berrodin (H) vs Owen Brookhouse (C), 7-6, 1-0, DNF
Order of finish: #4, #3, #5