Three years ago, Alexandria Watts sought out new Hope College women's lacrosse coach Kim Vincent after not making the roster in another sport.
She was among several welcomed to try out with the Flying Dutch, even though they had never played lacrosse.
"I contacted her over the summer and said 'Do you take walk-ons?/People who had never played before?' She said 'Sure!'," Watts recalled. "I played fall ball, then she told me I should try out in the spring. I did. That year I played attack, didn't play much. Then I suggested I could play goalie and be a backup. It led to this."
The Flying Dutch made their first Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Tournament championship game appearance on Saturday.
While Hope lost 15-0 at top-seeded Calvin, the Flying Dutch celebrated the accomplishment of finishing with a 9-7 overall record that marked the most number of wins in a single season since they began playing at the varsity level five years ago.
Led by seven seniors, including who did not play lacrosse in high school, Hope made great strides as a program and relished a memorable spring.
"We really meshed this year," said Watts, the starting goalie from Union, Michigan (Edwardsburg HS). "We learned the dynamics of our team and each other. We really become close. That could be seen on the field. We play with a lot of heart. We play for each other.
"We love each other so much it makes it special to play."
Senior midfielder Dana Kym of Libertyville, Illinois (Libertyville) ended the season with 41 goals — second most by a Flying Dutch player.
Senior attacker Alexandra Webb of Woodland Hills, California (Calabasas) totaled 50 points — second most by a Flying Dutch player — with a school-record 19 assists and 31 goals.
Hope also received contributions throughout the season from four other seniors: attacker Serena Harris of Preston, Idaho (Preston), midfielder Reinie Thomas of Portage, Michigan (Portage Central), and defenders Mara Droppers of Winter Park, Florida (Winter Park) and Audrey Park of Ann Arbor, Michigan (Pioneer).
Vincent is proud of the development she saw the past three years, in particular from the seniors who were brand new to the program.
"When I first arrived, there weren't enough players for a team, so I reached out. The seniors took a chance," Vincent said. "They joined us three years ago, and they've worked hard every year to get better and better. You can really see their development and progress in their stats and the way they became leaders on and off the field.
"I'm just grateful those seniors took a chance. We wouldn't have had a team that first year without them. They're playing against some really great players who have some good experience and coaching."