Story and photo by Alan Babbitt
The Hope College women's tennis team stands alone in Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association history with a record eighth consecutive league tournament championship.
The 33rd-ranked Flying Dutch made history on Friday at home with a 5-0 victory against Kalamazoo College in the final at Etheridge Tennis Complex
With a streak that started in 2012, Hope surpassed Kalamazoo's run of seven consecutive titles from 1990-96.
"It's definitely a very humbling thing," head coach Bob Cawood said when learning of his team's feat. "These ladies have been great with understanding what excellence means No.1 (and) No. 2 they're actually continuing to do it day in and day out. The target is on their backs on a consistent basis, yet they still come out and take care of business.
"We don't take it for granted. We still celebrate and enjoy these moments, but I put it all on them. They do such a good job preparing and making sure they do their part."
The Flying Dutch received the MIAA's automatic berth to the NCAA Division III Tournament for the eighth consecutive time and 10th overall under the current NCAA postseason format.
The NCAA will announce this season's tournament field on Monday on ncaa.com.
Against Kalamazoo, Hope seized control of the match by sweeping doubles.
At the No. 1 flight, juniors Claire Hallock of Lakeland, Florida (Harrison Center HS) and Amanda Bandrowski of Traverse City, Michigan (T.C. Francis) defeated Kalamazoo's Laura Hanselman and Sonal Bahl, 8-2.
The Flying Dutch closed out the match with singles wins from Bandrowski, then Jackson.
Bandrowski recorded a 6-1, 6-1 victory at No. 2 singles against Maddy Winarski.
Jackson posted a 6-4, 6-2 victory at No. 3 singles against Pelak.