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Fall sports recap: cross country dominates... again
Hendrik Kok
Hendrik Kok (Lynden, Wash.)

The men's cross country team, led by veteran head coaches Brian Diemer and Al Hoekstra recorded another banner year, capturing its 16th-consecutive MIAA title and its seventh-straight Great Lakes Regional crown including its 14th in the last 16 years and earning a national runner-up finish at the NCAA III Championships.

At the MIAA Championships hosted by Alma, Calvin took four of the top five spots including seven of the top 10 to capture first place, 40 points ahead of Albion. Calvin sophomore Hendrik Kok (Lynden, Wash.) turned in a dominating performance in claiming first place individually as he posted a time of 25:15 in the 8K race. Calvin junior Tim Avery (Rochester, N.Y.) was second in 25:38. Close behind were Calvin sophomores David Haagsma (Grand Rapids) and Brian Maat (Zeeland, Mich.). Haagsma was fourth (25:44) and Maat fifth (25:48). Calvin juniors Kris Koster (Grand Rapids) and Brian Paff (National City, Calif.) were sixth and seventh, respectively,with Koster clocking in at 25:55 and Paff at 25:58. Sophomore Jeff Engbers (Whitinsville, Mass.) also cracked the top 10 for Calvin, finishing 10th in 26:16.

Kok was named the MIAA's Most Outstanding Runner and earned a spot on the All-MIAA first team. Also receiving All-MIAA first-team honors from Calvin were Avery, Haagsma, Maat, Koster, Paff and Engbers.

Brian Maat
Brian Maat
(Zeeland, Mich.)

At the Great Lakes Regional meet hosted by Ohio Northern University, Calvin took first place with 39 points, placing four runners in the top 10 and five runners in the top 15. Kok led the Calvin pack with a first-place individual finish of 24:49 and was named Great Lakes Regional Athlete of the Year. The first-place individual finish by Kok marked the third straight year a Calvin men's cross country runner has claimed the Great Lakes Region individual title. Also cracking the top 10 for Calvin were Maat, who was sixth in 25:08, Koster, who took eighth in 25:11 and Haagsma, who was 10th in 25:22. Koster ran the bulk of the regional race with only one shoe on as a muddy section of the course sucked off one of his shoes a mile into the race. Rounding out Calvin's finishers were Paff in 14th place (25:34), Avery in 25th (25:46) and Engbers in 31st (26:02). All seven Calvin runners were named to the Great Lakes All-Region team while Diemer and Hoekstra were named Great Lakes Regional Co-Coaches of the Year.

At the NCAA III Championships at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn., Calvin recorded a second-place team score of 122 points to record its second-straight national runner-up finish. It was their third in the last five years. It also marked Calvin's fifth-consecutive top-four national finish. Over the last five years, the Calvin men's cross country team has the best combined set of national finishes than any other NCAA III men's cross country team.

Kok was Calvin's top finisher as he placed ninth individually with a time of 25:30 for which he earned All-America accolades. Kok was joined on the All-America stand by Maat who finished 24th individually with a time of 25:39. Koster and Haagsma also had outstanding performances for the Knights as Koster finished 43rd in 25:54 while Haagsma was 49th in 25:57. Avery served as Calvin's all-important fifth man placing 60th with a time of 26:01. Rounding out Calvin's finishers were Paff in 78th (26:14) and senior Josh VanderWiele (Midland Park, N.J.) in 159th place (27:03).

Calvin has now made 18 team appearances at the NCAA III Championships which is the seventh-best total in NCAA III men's cross country history. It has also produced 31 All-America finishes which ranks as the third-best total in NCAA III men's cross country history.

Jessie Lair
Jessie Lair
(West Bloomfield, Mich.)

The women's cross country team under the direction of veteran head coach Nancy Meyer also had a banner year, capturing its 15th consecutive MIAA title; its 14th straight Great Lakes Regional title and finishing fifth at the NCAA III Championships for its 11th top-10 national team finish.

At the MIAA Championships, Calvin took first place with 18 points as Calvin claimed the top four spots, including five of the top eight, finishing 37 points ahead of Hope. Calvin juniors Jessie Lair (West Bloomfield, Mich.) and Sarah Hastings (Traverse City, Mich.) led the Knights as Lair took first in the 6K race with a time of 22:12 while Hastings was second in 22:36. Senior twins Tami and Jodi VerMeulen of Holland, Mich., were next for the Knights as Tami VerMeulen was third in 23:03 and Jodi VerMeulen fourth in 23:03. Freshman Jen Walter (Sharon, Mass.) rounded out Calvin's top five, placing eighth with a time of 23:51. Calvin's sixth runner was senior Sarah Tinholt (Kalamazoo, Mich.) who took 11th in 23:56 while freshman Camille Medema (Grand Rapids) was 13th in 24:07.

Lair was named the MIAA's Most Outstanding Runner and landed a spot on the All-MIAA first team. Also receiving All-MIAA first-team accolades were Hastings, Tami VerMeulen, Jodi VerMeulen and Medema while Tinholt and Walter were named to the All-MIAA second team.

At the Great Lakes Regional meet hosted by Ohio Northern University two weeks later, Calvin came up with a valiant effort in poor running conditions, recording a first-place score of 70 points to finish 17 points ahead of nationally-ranked Baldwin-Wallace College. Calvin was led by Lair who placed second in 21:58. Also finishing in the top 10 for the Knights was Hastings in sixth place (22:26) while Jodi VerMeulen was 14th (23:05) and Tami VerMeulen 21st (23:11). Freshman Camille Medema served as Calvin's all-important fifth runner as she placed 27th in 23:21. Rounding out Calvin's finishers were seniors Tinholt and senior Laura Scholma-Medema (Grand Rapids) with Tinholt finishing 55th (24:02) and Scholma-Medema 58th (24:04). Lair, Hastings, Tami and Jodi VerMeulen and Camille Medema were all named to the Great Lakes All-Region team.

At the NCAA III Championships the following week at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn., Calvin posted its 11th top-10 national finish with a fifth-place score of 264 points, just eight points behind fourth-place Washington University of St. Louis. Calvin received a pair of All-America performances as Lair and Hastings were 13th and 25th, respectively. Lair raced across the finish line in a time of 22:00 while Hastings came in with a time of 22:19. Calvin's third finisher was Tami VerMeulen who placed 77th in 23:02 while freshman Camille Medema was 117th place with a time of 23:35. Rounding out Calvin's finishers were senior Jodi VerMeulen in 162nd place (24:06) and Tinholt in 178th (24:19).

Calvin has now made 14 team appearances at the NCAA III Championships which is the seventh best total in NCAA III men's cross country history. It has also produced 22 All-America finishes which ranks as the sixth-best total in NCAA III women's cross country history.

The men's golf team under the direction of veteran head coach Jim Timmer took fourth in the final MIAA standings, finishing 12 strokes behind third-place Alma and 36 strokes ahead of fifth-place Albion.

Calvin took first place at a pair of MIAA outings during the year, posting a first-place score of 303 at an outing hosted by Alma at the Pine River Country Club and a first place score of 311 at Calvin's home outing October 7 at the Watermark Country Club.

Calvin's top golfer during the season was senior Tony Karsten (Zeeland, Mich.) who finished seventh in the final MIAA individual standings and landed a spot on the All-MIAA second team for the third-straight year. Karsten finished with an average of 77.9 strokes-per-round which ranks as the fifth-best single-season average in Calvin men's golf history. Junior Matt Kelly (Shelby, Mich.) also landed on the All-MIAA second team after finishing 12th in the final MIAA standings with an average of 79.1 strokes-per-round.

Also cracking the top-25 for the Knights in the final MIAA individual standings were senior Mike Sherman (Grand Rapids) with an average of 79.2 strokes-per-round (14th place) and junior Ryan Brandsma (Hinsdale, Ill.) with an average of 81.9 strokes-per-round (23rd place).

Another highlight of the year came in a non-conference invitational hosted by Spring Arbor University in October as Karsten aced the 189-yard par 3 hole which helped him finish second individually at the 36-hole outing.

Anne Prins
Anne Prins
(Hudsonville, Mich.)

The women's golf team under the leadership of first-year head coach Jerry Bergsma had a breakthrough season, finishing fourth in the final MIAA standings. The finish was Calvin's best as a team since 1995 and marked an improvement of three spots from its 2001 MAA finish of seventh place.

At the MIAA Championships hosted by Tri-State University October 4 and 5, Calvin recorded a fourth-place team score of 804, 11 strokes ahead of fifth-place Olivet. Sophomore Dawn Svenkeson (Scandia, Minn.) took 10th at the 36-hole MIAA Championship competition with a two-day total of 180 strokes. Svenkeson took 17th in the final MIAA individual standings with an average of 95.2 strokes-per-round, just behind freshman teammate Annie Huizenga (Hudsonville, Mich.) who was 16th in the standings with an average of 93.2 strokes-per-round.

Freshman Anne Prins (Hudsonville, Mich.) placed 25th individually with a season-average of 102.6 strokes-per-round while freshman Margaret Tassaro (Carnegie, Pa.) was 27th and freshman Jennifer Anderson (Chisago City, Minn.) 28th.

At its home MIAA outing held at the Thornapple Pointe Golf Club September 21, Calvin finished sixth as a team with a score of 406 strokes.

David DeBoer
David DeBoer
(Grand Rapids, Mich.)

The men's soccer team under the direction of first-year head coach Chris Hughes finished 11-8-1 overall and in fourth place in the MIAA with a 6-5-1 conference mark. With its 11 victories, Calvin reached the double-digit plateau in victories for the fifth-straight year and for the 26th time in school history. Of Calvin's eight defeats, seven were by one goal.

During the season, sophomore forward Joel Veldhouse (Sioux Falls, SD) was named MIAA Offensive Player of the Week twice while sophomore midfielder Joel Vande Kopple (Grand Rapids) and freshman sweeper Kurt Visker (Grand Rapids) received MIAA Defensive Player of the Week honors once.

Veldhouse was named the MIAA's MVP, becoming the the ninth individual from Calvin to receive the award. Veldhouse led the MIAA in scoring with 24 points in conference play on the strength of 10 goals and four assists, becoming the first Calvin player since 1991 to lead the MIAA in total points. Veldhouse, Vande Kopple and Visker were also named to the All-MIAA first team while junior defensive back Mike Standfest (Elk Rapids, Mich.) received honorable mention recognition from the MIAA.

Calvin's 2002 squad also featured two sets of brothers as Kurt Visker and junior marking back Kyle Visker (Grand Rapids) teamed up on defense while senior forward Aaron Bouw and senior goaltender Justin Bouw (Hudsonville, Mich.) also played key roles. Justin Bouw appeared in 15 games in goal and posted an 8-4-1 record that included 63 saves and a goals-against-average of 0.69.

The women's soccer team, under the direction of second-year head coach Mark Recker, collected its 15th-straight winning campaign and reached double-digits in victories for the 14th straight year as the Knights went 12-6-2 overall and 9-3-2 in the MIAA, which was good for a third-place conference finish. Four of Calvin's six defeats were by one goal including two in sudden-death overtime. Calvin played in five sudden-death overtime games during the year, producing a 1-2-2 record in overtime games.

The Knights were led by senior forward Tricia Dyk (Grand Haven, Mich.) who was named the MIAA's Most Valuable Player for the second-straight year. Dyk finished the year with 19 goals, 14 assists and 52 points, matching the Calvin single-season record for assists. In conference games, Dyk led the MIAA in scoring for the second straight season totaling 17 goals, 10 assists and 44 points. During the year, she was selected MIAA Offensive Player of the Week twice. Dyk finished her career second on the MIAA career list in points (146), third in career goals (57) and tied for fifth in assists (32).

Stephanie Kooima
Stephanie Kooima
(Hudsonville, Mich.)

Dyk was named to the All-MIAA first team for the fourth-straight year, becoming just the seventh player in MIAA women's soccer history to achieve the feat four consecutive years. She is also the third player from Calvin to receive All-MIAA first-team honors four straight years as her sister, Tara Dyk-Wegner, accomplished the feat from 1995-1998 as did Cara Jansen during the same four-year span. Dyk was joined on the All-MIAA first team from Calvin by senior midfielders Stephanie Kooima (Hudsonville, Mich.) and Lindy VanHaitsma (Grand Rapids) and sophomore sweeper Kristen Calrson (Encinitas, Calif.). Sophomore marking back Linnea Butler (Shelton, Wash.) received All-MIAA second-team accolades as did freshman forward Noelle Berghuis (Hudsonville, Mich.) and junior forward Dana Haan (Lynden, Wash.). In addition, senior goaltender Leah VanderPloeg (Hudsonville, Mich.) received honorable mention recognition from the MIAA.

VanderPloeg was named MIAA Defensive Player of the Week once during the year and posted a goals-against-average of 1.29 along with 132 saves and six shutouts. Vander Ploeg closed out her career high on several Calvin career charts, moving into first place in career saves (411), second in goaltender victories (36), and third in goaltender shutouts (20).

The volleyball team under the direction of first-year head coach Amber Warners finished with a record of 26-7 that allowed the Knights to reach the 20-win plateau for the eighth-straight year. Calvin also finished in second place in the MIAA standings with a 12-2 conference record with both of its conference defeats coming against league champion Alma. Calvin later reached the MIAA Tournament semifinals where it was defeated by MIAA Tournament champion Kalamazoo.

During the season, Calvin captured the championship of Kalamazoo's season-opening Hornet Invitational as well as its own Midwest Invitational in late October. Calvin's Midwest Invitational title was its first since 1996.

During the year, Calvin senior Melissa Pell (Fremont, Mich.) was named to all-tournament teams at the Hornet Invitational, Wittenberg Invitational and Midwest Invitational. In addition, senior setter Laura Tucker (Holland, Mich.) earned a spot on the Hornet Invitational all tournament team while sophomore middle-hitter Kara Kuipers (Hudsonville, Mich.) joined Pell on the Midwest Invitational all-tournament team.

Pell and Tucker were named to the All-MIAA first team while senior outside hitter Cassie Christopher (Fruitport, Mich.) and junior libero Trisha Balkema (Highland, Ind.) were named to the All-MIAA second team. In addition, Kuipers received honorable mention recognition from the MIAA coaches while Balkema was named the MIAA Defensive Player of the Year in the first season the award was given out.

Pell averaged 4.26 kills and 1.36 blocks-per-game along with a hitting percentage of .285. She was named MIAA Player of the Week during the first week of the season. In conference matches, Pell led the MIAA in blocks-per-game for the second straight year, averaging 1.31 blocks-per-game. She was also third in kills-per-game (3.88) and sixth in hitting percentage (.265). Tucker led the MIAA in assists-per-game average at 12.7. Christopher averaged 3.28 kills, 3.18 digs and 0.72 service aces-per-game this year.

Balkema stepped into the newly created libero position this fall and thrived, amassing 607 digs for an average of 5.84 digs-per-game that ranked her among the nation's leaders. In conference matches, she led the MIAA in digs-per-game with an average of 5.67 digs-per-game.