2019 Hope College Volleyball Preview Take a Look at the Upcoming Season

Pictured above: Sophomore McKenna Otto and junior Rose Thompson block their opponent's kill shot.

2019 At A Glance

  • Roster size: 16
  • Returners: 12
  • Captains: Seniors Gabbi Vachon and Jenna VanderLaan, junior Adair Cutler
  • 2019 MIAA Preseason Poll: Second
  • 2019 NCAA Preseason Poll: 21st
  • 2018 Regular Season Recap: Hope finished with an overall record of 25-8 last year and was 7-1 in MIAA play to finish in second place.
  • 2018 MIAA Tournament Recap: As second seed in the league tournament, the Flying Dutch defeated third-seed Alma College in straight sets (25-20, 27-25, 25-12) in the semifinal round. Against host and top-seeded Calvin College, Hope lost to the Knights in four sets (16-25, 25-20, 16-25, 13-25).
  • 2018 NCAA Tournament Recap: After receiving an at-large bid into the NCAA Division III Volleyball Tournament, the Flying Dutch were edged by DePauw University in five sets (18-25, 25-23, 25-21, 23-25, 9-15) in the first round.

Pictured: Senior Jenna VanderLaan receives a serve.

Sophomore Ana Grunewald (left) and senior Gabbi Vachon (right) celebrate a Hope point.

2019 Roster

The Flying Dutch's roster consists of three seniors, two juniors, eight sophomores and three freshmen. One returning player — McKenna Otto — earned All-MIAA first team honors in 2018. Otto was also named the 2018 Freshman of the Year, as she ranked seventh in the MIAA with a team-best 3.16 kills per set during league matches. She also had the fourth-best hitting percentage against MIAA foes at .344.

"One of the things that makes this team special is the number of interchangeable parts we have which is going to make figuring out a lineup a little bit more challenging. We have very versatile players who are capable and excelling in multiple parts of the game. So we're just going to be working hard to try to find the right combination of both skill and chemistry on the court." — Head Coach Becky Schmidt
Sophomore middle hitter McKenna Otto at the net; Jenna VanderLaan (5) and Gabbi Vachon (1) ready to receive.
Senior libero Gabbi Vachon
Junior Rose Thompson

Key Returners:

  • Seniors Gabbi Vachon and Jenna VanderLaan return as Flying Dutch defensive specialists. In 2018, Vachon led Hope with 493 digs (4.29 per set) while VanderLaan had 228 (2.13 per set).
  • Sophomore middle hitter McKenna Otto recorded 306 total kills during the 2018 season. Overall, she averaged 2.72 kills per set on a .327 percentage.
  • Senior outside hitter Ryann Stutz recorded 200 total kills during the 2018 season. Overall, she averaged 2.02 kills per set on a .228 percentage.
  • Junior Adair Cutler and sophomore Tracy Westra direct Hope's attack as returning setters. In 2018, Cutler recorded 632 total assists (5.36 per set) while Westra had 591 total (5.09 per set).
"The depth that we have returning in our offense and defense is awesome. The experience that our setters had last year, being able to know what kind of offense we're running, being able to establish that early is great. And we returned our core defensive group, too." — Head coach Becky Schmidt
TOP LEFT: Sophomore libero Grace Pettinger; TOP RIGHT: Sophomore setter Tracy Westra; BOTTOM BOTTOM LEFT: Junior setter Adair Cutler (14) sets the ball; BOTTOM RIGHT: Ana Grunewald receives.

2019 Volleyball Schedule

The Flying Dutch open their 2019 season with the inaugural Inspire Hope Tournament at DeVos Fieldhouse on Friday, August 30 and Saturday, August 31. They have a three consecutive away tournament before they open league play at Alma College on Tuesday, September 24. Hope's home league opener is against Calvin University on Saturday, September 28.

"We're really looking forward to some of these non-conference tournaments. I also think though that the conference is going to be competitive too. When you're only playing teams once, it puts more added emphasis on bringing your A game to every league match." — Coach Becky Schmidt

2019 Coaching Staff

Head Coach Becky Schmidt

Becky Schmidt has made her mark on Hope College volleyball as a student-athlete and as a head coach. She guided the Flying Dutch to their first national championship during the 2014 NCAA Division III Tournament. Hope matched a school record for wins in a single season with a 34-2 record that season.

A 1999 Hope graduate, she became the first Hope volleyball player to receive NCAA Division III All-American honors. She was also awarded a NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship.

Schmidt holds the academic rank of associate professor of kinesiology.

"I'm fired up, fired up for this journey. That's our theme too, making the most of this year's journey." — Coach Becky Schmidt
Senior Ryann Stutz (6) attempts to block while Adair Cutler (14) is ready to receive.

By The Numbers

  • 3. Volleyball student-athletes — Liz Cutlip, McKenna Otto, Tracy Westra — who are Clare Boothe Luce Scholars, a program that helps Hope address the national gender gap in STEM fields by providing research experiences and mentoring support to female Hope students majoring in computer science, engineering and physics.
  • 3.72. The team GPA of the 2018 squad, a Hope athletics team-best that also earned them a MIAA Team GPA award.
  • 10. Consecutive years Hope volleyball claimed the American Volleyball Coaches Association Team Academic Award.
  • 12. Hope opponents this season that received votes in the AVCA preseason poll, including six who appear in the Top 25.
  • 13. Women's volleyball student-athletes who were named to the MIAA Honor Roll with GPAs of 3.5 or higher.

Hope's Home Court Advantage

The Flying Dutch play their home games at DeVos Fieldhouse on Hope's campus.
Hope Volleyball plays a majority of their matches on DeYoung Court.
Opened in 2005, DeVos Fieldhouse is a premier NCAA Division III basketball and volleyball spectator facility and the home of Hope's championship athletics.
Created By
Eva Dean Folkert


Photos by Lynne Powe and Steven Herppich

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a copyright violation, please follow the DMCA section in the Terms of Use.