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Sophomore guards lead Knights
By Ross Weener

Tricia DykOne is the oldest in her family, the other the youngest. One has brown hair, the other has blond. One drinks Cherry Coke, one prefers Mountain Dew, but put them together on the basketball court and you have one of the fleetest sets of guards in the MIAA. Together, sophomores Tricia Dyk (right) and Jennifer Plakmeyer (below) form the starting backcourt for Calvin's women's basketball team.

Jennifer PlakmeyerPlakmeyer earned MIAA player of the week accolades for her play in games against Kalamazoo and St. Mary's in early February. In that two-game stretch, she poured in 46 points on 17-of-24 shooting, which included 8-of-10 from three-point range and 4-of-4 from the free throw line. Plakmeyer was later named to the All-MIAA second team after finishing among the league leaders in scoring average, assists-per-game average and three-point shooting percentage.

"Kalamazoo was the turning point for the team," said Plakmeyer. "Our confidence was low, and I knew that anything that I could do would be helpful. This award is a big honor for me and for the team."

Plakmeyer, a Calvin Christian High School graduate, said her college plans did not always include going to Calvin.

"I actually was enrolled at Hope until two months before freshman year," admitted Plakmeyer. "My best friend, Amanda Kerkstra (Hope College's starting center), and I always said we would go to the same college, and for Amanda it was Hope College. It just turned out that I liked Calvin's campus and liked the Christian atmosphere better here at Calvin."

Plakmeyer is the oldest of four children and said that she comes from a basketball family.

"Both my parents played basketball," said Plakmeyer. "My brother Jon plays point guard for the Calvin Christian JV team and my brother Joel plays on his 8th grade team."

Plakmeyer has a personal love for her major, which is special education. Her love stems from having an autistic brother named Josh who is 17.

"I want to work with special needs kids because I feel like I understand them," said Plakmeyer. "I think that they are very gifted students, and I believe that I can relate to them better because I have had the advantage of living with my brother."

Anyone who has seen the Calvin women's basketball team in action realizes what Tricia Dyk brings to the table. She is a fierce competitor, and a defender that will cause her opponents headaches. Dyk led the MIAA in steals with 89 for an average of 3.4 a game. The 89 thefts by Dyk marked the second highest single-season total in Calvin women's basketball history. In a memorable 73-71 overtime loss to nationally-ranked Hope in the MIAA tournament semifinals, Dyk poured in a career-high 27 points on 13-of-21 field goal shooting. In addition, she finished sixth in the league in assists, averaging 2.8 a game and later received honorable mention recognition from the MIAA coaches.

Like Plakmeyer, Dyk comes from a sports family. "My parents are very fit people," stated Dyk. " I come from a family of four children and all three older siblings played sports in high school, and my sister Tara also played in college."

A Western Michigan Christian High School graduate, Dyk also admitted that Calvin was not the first place she looked at when she was searching for colleges.

"Ever since I was little I knew that I wanted to play Division I soccer at some big school like Michigan or North Carolina" commented Dyk. "But I also knew that I wanted to play basketball, and if I went to a big school like that I would not be able to do both."

Dyk not only excels at basketball but also is a very gifted soccer player. Dyk was named to the MIAA first team for the second consecutive year as well as taking home the honor of second team All-Region. She led the Knights in scoring and assists with 12 goals and 8 assists.

"Tricia demonstrates a competitor's spirit as she comes straight from soccer to basketball," noted head coach Kim Gall. "She gives us an all out defensive effort and plays with intensity on the court."

Early in the MIAA season, Dyk was forced to step up and play some point guard because of injury. In that stretch she tallied 16 points in one game--more than 10 points above her average. "Playing the point was not something that I really wanted to do," admitted Dyk. "I realized that this was something that I had to do for the team, so I just did it. Now I realize that it is not as bad as I first thought."

Due to the Knights having two starters that can play the point effectively and a team that likes to run, Calvin was able to switch their offense to an up-tempo attack.

"We play a transition game which was pretty effective," noted Dyk. "We were faster than we were last year," commented Gall. "We pushed to become an up-tempo kind of team."

Without a senior on the roster this year, the youthful Knights also formed a strong bond.

"This is the closest team I have ever been a part of," said Dyk. "I think it is because of the closeness in age and that with no seniors, the natural-born leaders are stepping forward."

 

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