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Volleyball team comes together at right moment for Calvin senior
By Lynn Bolt Rosendale

While losing the last game of her college career may not seem like much of a victory, it was to senior Ann Wiersma.

"It was during that game that it really seemed like we were all on the same page playing," said Wiersma. "Everyone was going all out and giving everything they had. When we walked off that court, I knew there was nothing wrong with losing the way we did."

The Knights lost in the finals of the MIAA conference tournament to Hope 15-10, 17-15, 14-16, 16-14. Hope had beaten Calvin twice during the regular season.

"We struggled with playing together," said Wiersma. "To have that realized in our last game was pretty amazing."

What was even more amazing was that they did it without their All-MIAA setter, Sarah Ahrenholz, who was injured just five points into the first game.

"After that happened it was like we all just regrouped and got more focused," said Wiersma. "It really was a great way to go out."

This was the first time in Wiersma's four years at Calvin that the Knights did not receive a NCAA III tournament bid. Calvin won the MIAA in 1999, receiving an automatic bid, and received at-large bids in 1997 and 1998. Calvin placed second in the MIAA this year.

"When I came to Calvin I really didn't know what to expect," said Wiersma. "My high school team had been pretty dominant so I expected things would be that way again. I would say that Calvin is pretty dominant in volleyball."

In fact, since the MIAA instituted volleyball as a varsity sport in 1978, Calvin has posted a won-loss record in league play of 222-47 for a winning percentage of .825 that ranks as the top percentage among MIAA schools.

Wiersma hails from Vista, Calif., where she graduated from Calvin Christian High School in Escondido. There she was named Coastal League Player of the Year. She was named All-MIAA second team for three consecutive years and holds the school record for most digs in a season with 524. She was second on the team in kills this year with 446.

"Ann has always been a vocal leader and her leadership skills have been valued by her teammates. Her confidence and competitive spirit was appreciated by her teammates. She has been an important to our offense with her powerful hits and to our defense with her fine digging," said Coach Mary Schutten.

"I'm not sure why I came to Calvin," said Wiersma. "My parents made it very clear that I could choose to go wherever I wanted but it was always pretty obvious that God was pushing me to come here."

Despite having to put up with cold winters and not nearly enough sun, Wiersma said, "I know this is where I was supposed to be."

As a business/communications major and Spanish minor, she has always enjoyed working with people. She hopes to continue that in the field of human resources upon her graduation this spring.

"Working with the team has been a great experience for me," she said. "The team was amazing and it's how I've made some of my best friends. Working with people is something that I would like to continue."

She just isn't sure where, yet. "I would like to go back to California, but I want to make sure that's where God wants me to be," said Wiersma, who will be getting married in July.

While Wiersma isn't sure what prompted her to to come to Calvin, she is most appreciative of Calvin's personable atmosphere. "You're not just a number," she said. "I have a number of really good relationships with profs, who have even come to my games. People here remember not just what you've done, but who you are. I really appreciate that."

 

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