by Eva Dean Folkert
Clinging to a two-goal advantage, 9-7, midway through the second half and looking to stave off a potential momentum shift by visiting Aquinas College, midfielder Madison Micho swarmed and pestered an advancing Saints lacrosse player near Hope's goal with the persistence of an unfazed gnat.
The junior's tenacity was as effective as it was fruitful. In less than 12 seconds, Micho caused a turnover, scooped the groundball, cleared it up field to teammate Rachel Elder who raced to find and pass to an open Carly Pieri who scored.
The rapid, clean succession of ball movement by the Flying Dutch on that goal sparked a run of four unanswered goals over the remainder of the half. The Hope women's lacrosse team went on to defeat Aquinas, 13-7, in its home opener at Van Andel Soccer Stadium.
The victory evened the Flying Dutch's record at 2-2. Aquinas is 0-1.
"We definitely like to play in transition and score those easy goals," said head coach Keagan Pontious. "Our theme this week (in practice) was 'take risks.' It's not a mistake; it's a risk that you're willing to take. It's an opportunity to learn. So, we definitely took those risks and they turned out well for us. They were looking pretty at the end of the game."
Hope fell behind to Aquinas, 4-2, at the 9:28 mark in the first half, but another four-goal scoring streak put the Flying Dutch in the lead, 6-4, at halftime.
The teams traded goals over the first eight minutes of the second half to reach that 9-7 Hope advantage before the Flying Dutch dominated the rest of the way.
"We played with a lot of heart," Pontious said. "We left everything on the field, especially in the second half. We just started playing clean lacrosse."
Junior Pieri of Alto (Caledonia HS) led the Flying Dutch in scoring with four goals and in groundballs with four. Junior Elder of Grand Rapids (East Grand Rapids HS) had three goals and an assist.
Hope outshot Aquinas, 44-15, though the Saints led in groundballs, 25-15.
The Flying Dutch have a little more than a week off from competition. They'll travel to Capital University (Ohio) for a 3 p.m. game on Friday, March 13.