The Calvin College women’s basketball team has been off to a great start, going undefeated in the five games leading up to the MIAA season as of Tuesday, Dec. 2.
“Being undefeated going into league play is an accomplishment that we should be proud of, but we are all very aware that we have a long way to go,” senior Hannah Acre said.
The Knights have been ranked 17th in the Women’s Basketball Division III newsletter’s preseason poll, and senior forward Breanna Verkaik has a preseason Division III Honorable Mention All-American by the publication. Verkaik has an average of 14.4 points per game, a total of 72 points for the past five games and a current 54.5 field goal percentage.
The women’s basketball team also recently finished second in the MIAA preseason coaches’ poll, while Hope finished first. Calvin received one first place vote in the poll. Defending MIAA champions Hope received the remaining eight first place votes.
Although the Knight’s have a strong start going for them, they know that there is still a lot of work to be done.
“We are not playing to our potential right now, and with the MIAA season coming up, it is inspiring us to work harder every day in practice and focus on what we need to,” Acre commented.
Calvin is ranked 13 spots behind rival Hope College, and the competition is projected to be great not only against them, but by every team in the MIAA Conference.
Acre says that “Hope and Olivet will be [the] biggest challenges this conference season. They both play hard and are games that we look forward to every year.”
There are a few standout players on the team, including senior Kayla Engelhard, who averages 13 points per game and has a 50.0 free throw percentage. Another standout is junior Kally Verkaik who has an average of 9.6 points a game and has 12 assists this season.
Acre says that the biggest asset the Knight’s have going into the MIAA conference is the amount of team unity. Rather than each player playing for herself, they are playing for each other and the team as a whole.
There are currently five seniors and five juniors, which brings a lot of experience and leadership to the team.
“I think that having so many seniors on the team shows that we are here for more than just basketball,” Acre adds.
It will be a hard but exciting road ahead for the Knight’s this coming season, “We have already shown steps in the right direction, and I am anxious to see how this year plays out for us as we continue to work together,” says Acre.
Calvin will host Albion in its MIAA season opener on Saturday, Dec. 6.