The 2013 Flying Dutch will be seeking to repeat as champions of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) and gain a return trip to the NCAA Division III championship.
The Flying Dutch approach the season with the added excitement of playing at the college's new Vande Poel-Heeringa Stadium Courts. The 12-court facility is being considered among the finest in NCAA Division III. It compliments the college's nearby DeWitt Tennis Center which features six indoor court.
The team is under first-year coach Adam Ford. Coach Ford is no stranger to Hope tennis. He has been employed at the college's DeWitt Tennis Center since 2005 and has served as the facility's head pro since 2010.
The 2012 Flying Dutch won the conference championship without a senior on the roster. The team was undefeated in MIAA dual matches (8-0) and posted an overall 18-8 record.
The pre-season roster of 10 players includes two freshmen, two sophomores, three juniors and three seniors. Co-captains are seniors Melissa Bieri of Holland (Holland Christian HS) and Leah LaBarge of Hudsonville (Hudsonville HS).
Other returning letterwinners are senior Casey Baxter of Saline (Saline HS), sophomore Carli Capestany of Hudsonville (Hudsonville HS), junior Stephanie Huffman of Grand Rapids (Forest Hills Eastern HS), junior Kelsey Jeletz of Cedarburg, Wisc. (Cedarburg HS), and junior Andrea Pickelman of Marshall (Marshall HS).
Three returning players received all-conference honors in 2012. Carli Capestany was named to the first team and juniors Leah LaBarge and Casey Baxter were second team honorees.
In addition to exceling on the courts, the Flying Dutch were named to the All-Academic honor rolls of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) and Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA). Returning players named national Scholar-Athletes were Casey Baxter. Melissa Bieri, Carli Capestany, Kelsey Jeletz, and Leah LaBarge.
After playing in a series of indoor matches, the Flying Dutch will travel to Orlando, Fla. for their annual Spring Break trip the week of March 18-21. The first scheduled match on the Vande Poel-Heeringa Stadium Courts will be a league dual match on Tuesday, March 26.