On Saturday, February 27, the Hope College women’s basketball team will pay tribute to its nine graduating seniors. Since fans are not allowed at the event to recognize these student-athletes’ careers, head coach Brian Morehouse honors these seniors in his own words below.
Courteney Barnes — Hometown: Mokena, Illinois (Lincoln Way-Central HS); Majors: Special Education and Comprehensive Education K-8
Courteney has demonstrated a tireless work ethic over her career. She was the most improved player as a junior and has worked to improve each off season. Her aggressive play has led to a bigger role every year. She has left her mark both on the court and off with her leadership of the team bible study and work with the athletic chaplain. Courteney will be an impactful elementary teacher.
Mallory Gerber — Hometown: Schaumburg, Illinois (Schaumburg HS); Major: Biology
Mallory developed from a spot-up shooter to an inside/outside threat. Her biggest improvement was on defense where she developed over four years into an excellent ball screen defender and outstanding team defender. Mallory is a great teammate who grew from her SEED mission trip and became a spiritual leader on the team. Mallory is headed to physician assistant school upon graduation.
Natalee Kott — Hometown: Manistee, Michigan (Manistee HS); Major: Psychology
Natalee is a player who improved every single year at Hope. A severe knee injury caused her to miss her junior year, but tireless rehabilitation with our athletic trainers allowed her to return successfully for the senior campaign. She is unflappable under pressure and a knock-down shooter who increased her range throughout her career. Not many people know, but she is also the best dancer on the team.
Jess Moorman — Hometown: Northville, Michigan (Northville HS); Major: Mechanical Engineering
Jess was awarded the BCAM (Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan) “Team First award for the 2019-2020 season. As a huge energy player, Jess has played many positions on the team from a guard to a post player. Her athleticism and instincts for the ball are what sets her apart on the floor. Jess worked hard to develop her shot consistency over four years and is now a dependable shooter and defender. A spiritual leader and go-to person for every player on the team, Jess will be a great addition to any company as an engineer after graduation.
Sydney Muller — Hometown: Grand Rapids, Michigan (Grand Rapids Christian HS); Major: Exercise Science
Though transferring in as a sophomore, it just seems like Sydney was here all four years. She is a player who earned her teammates respect when she arrived through being a team-first player immediately. She is a very high basketball IQ player who is also tremendously skilled. A devastating junior-year knee injury derailed an all-American type season, but her tireless work with the athletic trainers has allowed her to return to form as a senior. Syd is headed to physician assistant school upon graduation.
Lauren Newman — Hometown: Flushing, Michigan (Flushing HS); Major: Nursing
Thrust into the starting point guard role as a freshmen after not playing it in high school, Lauren has been a lead by example player at the point of the #1-ranked Hope defense. Her pressure on opposing team guards set up her teammates behind her allowing the defense to thrive. She has shown great improvement due to skill development after sophomore year to become a better offensive player. She is a three year captain who has done a great job leading by example. Lauren will be a great asset to the health care community as she serves as a nurse.
Ashleigh Thomas — Hometown: Shelby Township, Michigan (Lutheran North HS); Major: Nursing
Ashleigh is a multi-skilled player who improved each season. I thought the key point in her career was during her junior year when she embraced being our do-everything player (offensive rebound, inside/outside threat), and sacrificed her own stats for team wins. She has done a great job balancing out the rigors of nursing clinicals, missed practices, and being prepared despite not being able to be at every practice. She has been named the top nursing student in her class, and Ashleigh will be a tremendous nurse.
Kenedy Schoonveld — Hometown: Zeeland, Michigan (Holland Christian HS); Major: Social Work
Kenedy is a four-year starter who recently scored her 1000th point. She was selected as the MIAA MVP and a first-team All American as a junior. She is a tireless worker and has developed her skill both in and out of season. She has improved each season. She is an overlooked great defender who draws the other team’s toughest offensive assignment each game. She has served as a captain for three years and provides a steadying influence on the team. Kenedy is headed to graduate school in social work.
Olivia Voskuil — Hometown: Holland, Michigan (Holland Christian HS); Major: Civil Engineering
Each summer Olivia went to work and improved her skill and physicality. She is loved by her teammates for her leadership and approachability. She will graduate as the career leader in blocked shots and a two-time MIAA Defensive Player of the Year. She is the key player in a team that was ranked #1 in the nation for defense. Her anticipation and athleticism allowed her teammates to thrive on defense because she would protect the rim. Olivia’s tireless work ethic has resulted in obvious offensive improvement each year, including extending her range to the 3-point line. Olivia will attend graduate school for engineering.