by Alan Babbitt
A new era in Hope College women's lacrosse continues high expectations for the Flying Dutch.
Led by first-year head coach Keagan Pontious, the Flying Dutch are projected to contend for a Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association title again this spring after finishing second in the 2020 MIAA preseason coaches poll.
Hope totaled 40 points while receiving two first-place votes.
The top four teams in the poll were separated by nine points: Albion first with 45 points and five first-place votes, Hope, Calvin with 39 points and one first-place vote, and Saint Mary's with 36 points.
Photo of Keagan Pontious, at right, giving instructions at practice.
The Flying Dutch return several key players from last season, including All-MIAA First Team defender Julianna Burlet of Hinsdale, Illinois (Hinsdale Central).
Two All-MIAA Second Team honorees are back as well: midfielders Carly Pieri of Alto, Michigan (Caledonia) and Paige Wilmer of Columbus, Ohio (Upper Arlington). Pieri scored a school-record 51 goals last season. Wilmer tied for the 10th most in team history with 31.
Hope finished with an 11-6 overall record last season and was runner-up in the MIAA Tournament. Head coach Kim Vincent retired after the season. Pontious was hired as the Flying Dutch's third head coach in June.
The 2020 season opener for Hope is Friday, February 21 at Cleary University in Brighton, Michigan.