Volleyball advances to national title game for second straight year
In just three sets against the Emory Eagles, the Calvin Knights were able to punch their ticket to their second straight NCAA D-III volleyball national finals match appearance.
Calvin will take on Cal Lutheran in the finals Saturday at 7 p.m.
Cal Lutheran advanced by defeating Clarkson three sets to one and sweeping UW-Stevens Point, the team that took out No. 2 Hope College and last year’s defending champion St. Thomas-Minn.
In the semifinal against Calvin, Emory kept all three sets tight, only losing by more than five in the first set.
Emory pushed to win in the final set, tying it at 22, but the Knights were able to prevent a rally and close out the game with three straight points to advance to finals by a score line of 25-17, 25-21, 25-22.
Both teams poured on the attack with over 100 total attacks each. The back row for the Knights held strong as they collected 54 digs. Seniors Kristi Zietse and Megan Rietema lead the way with 13 and 10 respectively.
Coach Amber Warners thought the efforts of the back row kept them in the game. “Our back row allowed our star players to be stars tonight,” she said.
Warners also noted the pressure that came from their serves. The Knights tallied seven service aces, three from Jamie Kooiman and two apiece from Zietse and Laura Danhoff.
Danhoff also added eight kills, five digs, two block-solos and two block-assists on the night. Danhoff has enjoyed her collegiate experience in her first year.
“[The team is] like my family,” she said.
Warners said she is proud of Danhoff’s maturity on the court.
“She has become really team-oriented and is not focusing on her mistakes as much,” she said.