Volleyball advances to Division III nationals

photo by calvin.edu

photo by calvin.edu

Volleyball advanced to NCAA Division III nationals this weekend as they won the regional tournament. A three set sweep and two five set thrillers kept Knight Nation on their toes, but a resilient Calvin squad was able to pull through.

In the first matchup against Penn State-Behrend, the Knights were able to keep the tempo up by passing and serving well. The Knights took a big lead early on as senior Elise Biesboer found herself in a routine for 18 straight Calvin points. “I say the same thing to myself every time I serve; I just focus on putting that one in.”

Calvin went on to win in three sets, 25-4, 25-15, 25-8. The Knights finished with 10 service aces: senior Megan Rietema with four, senior Kristi Zietse and Biesboer followed with three and two respectively.

Mount Union came to the Van Noord hoping to avenge a loss earlier in the season to Calvin. The Knights were forced to play five sets, winning the first and third by scores of 25-11 and 25-20, but losing the second and fourth sets both by a score of 25-23. Calvin was able to force eight attacking errors in the fifth set to earn the victory 15-8.

The Knights had 66 kills against Mount Union. Twenty-four of these kills came from sophomore Maggie Kamp as she set a new personal match high, and 11 came from Rietema as she earned her first collegiate triple-double adding on 46 assists and 16 digs.

Juniors Emily Crowe and Ellie Diepersloot also provided double digit kills for the Knights, combining for 21. Diepersloot found it helpful to be challenged by a good team. “They were relentless and I think that helped us focus on each hit.” Crowe added insight to the team’s response of facing a tough team, saying, “Even if the points weren’t going our way we were resilient.”

Meeting Wittenberg for the fourth consecutive year, the Knights found their way to victory in another five set match. Calvin found themselves up two sets after winning 25-19 and 25-22, but Wittenberg would not roll over. Pushing the score to the limits, the Tigers won the third and fourth sets 25-23 and 26-24.

Calvin was ready for a fifth set, even though they hadn’t experienced many throughout the season. The key for Zietse was to take it one point at a time. “Practicing that resilience and that constant push to finish the game … you can’t think beyond one point at a time.”

Ten kills, five from Maggie Kamp, might have been the push that they needed. The Knights won the fifth set 15-9 to finish as the Great Lakes Regional Champions. Rietema and Zietse both added that it is very exciting for them to head to nationals for the third time in the past four years.  The Knights return to action Thursday, Nov. 21 at Hope’s DeVos Fieldhouse.