By Lauren Duistermars
The Hope College women's tennis team fought through the wind and a rival at VandePoel-Heeringa Stadium Courts on Friday.
The Flying Dutch defeated Calvin College 5-0 in the championship match of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Tournament, as well as securing a berth in the NCAA tournament in the next week.
Hope improved its overall record to 13-8 while advancing to the national team tournament for the seventh consecutive time and 13th overall. The Flying Dutch reached the regional final last season.
Senior Natalie Rahrig of Fort Wayne, Indiana (Bishop Luers HS) ended the match with a 6-0, 6-0 win against Lark Foote at No. 4 singles.
Sophomore Claire Hallock of Lakeland, Florida (Harrison Center) gave the Flying Dutch their first point in singles by closing out her match against Madeline Brouwer with 6-2, 6-2 at No. 2 singles.
In doubles play, the Flying Dutch dominated on all three courts with Hallock and junior Taylor LaBarge of Hudsonville, Michigan (Hudsonville) winning 8-6 at No. 1 doubles, sophomore Amanda Bandrowski of Traverse City, Michigan (St. Francis) and freshman Bailey Chorney of Waunakee, Wisconsin (Waunakee) winning 8-4, at No. 2 doubles, and Rahrig and junior Erin LaBarge of Hudsonville, Michigan (Hudsonville) winning 8-3 at No. 3 doubles.
Going into the NCAA tournament, assistant coach Matt Hamilton is confident in his players abilities to perform well.
"I feel like the team is peaking at the right time, and hopefully we can go pretty far," Hamilton said.
The NCAA Tournament field will be announced on Monday.
"The NCAA tournament is always very tough competition," Rahrig said. "I think coming off of a win like this gives us a lot more confidence, but I think this next week we still have a lot to work on."