Four captains will guide a Hope College women's basketball team in transition this season.
The Flying Dutch head into the 2017-18 campaign having graduated six seniors and three starters from a team that finished 24-5 last season and advanced to the third round of the NCAA Division III Tournament.
Senior guard Madison Geers of Scottville, Michigan (Mason County Central HS), senior forward Jacquelyn Schwark of Fraser, Michigan (Lutheran North), junior forward Francesca Buchanan of Grant, Michigan (Sparta), and junior guard Victoria Swift of LaGrange, Illinois (Lyons Township) will lead the Flying Dutch, head coach Brian Morehouse said.
Photo, from left, of Buchanan, Swift, Geers and Schwark by Junebug Photography
"They have been fantastic," Morehouse said of his captains. "They really share the responsibility of leadership, speaking up and accountability. I think they have gotten us off to a good start."
Hope — nationally ranked in three NCAA Division III preseason polls — opens the season this weekend with its Tip-Off Tournament at DeVos Fieldhouse.
The Flying Dutch have a roster of four seniors, two juniors, three sophomores and six freshmen.
Captains' duties extend beyond learning plays and defensive strategies, Morehouse said.
"It has to do with how they anticipate the needs of younger players before it becomes an issue," said Morehouse, who is entering his 22nd season at Hope and has a career record of 529-83 for a .864 win percentage. "Your job as a captain is to think ahead of the younger players for things like when we have to schedule classes and helping them understand what kind of frustrations they might have, or when they move toward exams.
"It's also just how to help younger players deal with the stress of their first game as a college player. You have to let them know it's OK to be excited, have a dry mouth and nervousness. Let them 'You're ready.'"