The Hope College women's soccer team tops the 2018 Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Preseason Coaches Poll.
Coach Leigh Sears and the Flying Dutch collected seven first-place votes and finished with 63 points.
Hope placed ahead of Adrian, which was second with one first-place vote and 54 points. Kalamazoo claimed the other first-place vote and took third with 48 points. Calvin (40 points) was fourth and followed by Albion (38), Olivet (27), Alma (25), Trine (21) and Saint Mary's (8).
The Flying Dutch are aiming for a third consecutive MIAA regular-season championship. They have won MIAA titles three of the past four seasons, including outright in 2017 and 2014. They shared the crown in 2016.
Hope is coming off a 2017 season where the Flying Dutch went 19-3-1 overall and reached the second round of the NCAA Division III Tournament. The 19 wins were a school record. Hope posted a 14-1-1 MIAA record and won the league tournament.
The Flying Dutch outscored opponents by a 64-12 margin last season and equaled the 2016 school record for goals scored.
Three of Hope's leading four goalscorers return, including senior Grace Bubin of Rockford, Michigan (Rockford HS) who had a team-high 11 goals. She was an All-MIAA First-Team selection in 2017.
Seniors Rylie Dalton of Rockford, Michigan (Rockford HS) and Rachael Braginton of Grandville, Michigan (Grandville) recorded eight and seven goals, respectively, last season. Dalton earned All-MIAA Second Team honors as a junior.
The Flying Dutch also return sophomore goalie Jordanne Ellingboe of Grand Haven, Michigan (Grand Haven) from a defensive unit that set a school record with 16 shutouts last season.
Hope kicks off the 2018 season on Friday, August 31 with a 4:30 p.m. Central match at Illinois Wesleyan.
The Flying Dutch will host a Purple Community benefit game for Van Andel Institute on Saturday, September 15. Kickoff vs. Capital University (Ohio) is noon at Van Andel Soccer Stadium.
Hope's MIAA opener is Wednesday, September 26 at Kalamazoo. The Flying Dutch will play a single round of league games this season for the first time since 2010.