by Alan Babbitt
The Hope College women's soccer team has a record number of honorees on the United Soccer Coaches All-Central Region team.
Midfielder Rylie Dalton and forward Hilary Curry both earned first-team, all-region recognition, while defenders Eliza Beird and Morgan Buursma claimed second- and third-team recognition, respectively.
The four helped the Flying Dutch reach the third round of the NCAA Division III Tournament for the first time and become Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association champions for the third consecutive season.
This is Hope's largest group of all-region honorees. The Flying Dutch had three recipients three times previously (2017, 2013, and 2005).
Dalton led Hope in goal scoring with a career-high nine, including game-winners in six of the Flying Dutch's 16 victories. The senior from Rockford, Michigan (Rockford) also registered three assists for a career-high-matching 21 points.
Curry finished second on the team scoring with eight goals and 20 points. The senior from Grand Rapids, Michigan (Grandville Calvin Christian) also collected four assists. Like Dalton, she was a first-team, All-MIAA selection.
Beird and Buursma both played integral roles in a Flying Dutch defense that shut out 12 opponents and yielded 10 goals in 21 matches this season.
Beird also chipped in offensively with a team-leading and career-high five assists. The senior from Holland, Michigan (Black River) made the All-MIAA First Team.
Buursma contributed two goals. The senior from Grandville, Michigan (Calvin Christian) was an All-MIAA second-team selection.