by Alan Babbitt
Hilary Curry kept moving, even when the frustration of a second early strike off the crossbar for the nationally ranked Hope College women's soccer team could have given her an excuse to pause in exasperation.
The determined forward from Grand Rapids, Michigan (Grandville Calvin Christian HS) hustled after the loose ball before Olivet College could clear.
Curry, pictured left, made a short cross to a charging Maria Egloff, pictured right, who buried it the net for the first goal in a 2-0 Flying Dutch victory Saturday at Van Andel Soccer Stadium.
Hope — ranked by No. 5 in the D3soccer.com poll and 13th by the United Soccer Coaches rankings - improved to 8-0-1 overall and 2-0 in Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association play.
The Flying Dutch put six shots off the crossbar against Olivet (4-4-2, 0-2 MIAA).
The second unlucky strike — by senior Rachael Bragington of Grandville, Michigan (Grandville) 11 ½ minutes into the match — became an opportunity for two hustling and skilled Hope players, head coach Leigh Sears said.
"It's just so frustrating. We hit the crossbar so many times," Sears said. "Hilary is strangely good in the air for her size. She always will follow the play, even when you think the ball is going out, she will try to play it back across the goal. She is never one to give up on a play.
"Maria hasn't stopped working the moment she got to camp. She just runs and runs. Our midfielders get so excited to join the attack. If it wasn't Maria, it could have been somebody else. Maria ended up inside the goal, so she was pretty far forward. She's our defensive-center mid. She's pretty good about reading the play."
The goal was the first of the season for Egloff, a sophomore from Kalamazoo, Michigan (Loy Norrix).
Hope outshot Olivet by a 20-1 margin.
Curry tacked on her fourth goal of the season 6 minutes, 13 seconds into the second half.
The shutout was Hope's sixth of the season.
Sophomore goalie Jordanne Ellingboe of Grand Haven, Michigan (Grand Haven) made one save for the 19th shutout of her career. She moved into sole possession of second place among Flying Dutch keepers for career shutouts. The school record of 41 belongs to Holly Nestle (2003-06).
Hope returns to action on Tuesday, October 2 with a non-league match at Wheaton College (Illinois).