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Fall sports recap: men's cross country repeats as national champ

Under the direction of third-year head coach Chris Hughes, the men’s soccer team produced a landmark season, capturing its first outright MIAA title since 1987 and earning its first trip to the NCAA III tournament since 1991. Calvin finished the year with an 18-2-1 overall record and a 13-1-0 mark in the MIAA. Calvin’s conference mark established a new MIAA single-season record for victories. During its conference campaign, Calvin outscored opponents 43-1, setting an MIAA record for fewest goals allowed and most shutout victories (13) in a season.

Calvin’s lone conference defeat was a 1-0 decision at Hope. The two rivals were tied with 12-1-0 conference records, but Calvin gained a 1-0 victory over Hope on the final day of the regular season to clinch the title outright. Senior Joel Vande Kopple (Grand Rapids, Mich.) scored the game-winning goal with just 3:45 left in regulation.

Calvin then bowed out of the NCAA III tournament the following Saturday, losing to unranked Wartburg College (Iowa) 1-0 in overtime.

Calvin finished the year with a final national ranking of 16th. Earlier in the year, the Knights rose to a national ranking of fourth—the highest in school history.

Senior midfielder Joel Veldhouse (Sioux Falls, S.D.) was voted the MIAA’s Most Valuable Player for the second time in three years and was named to the All-MIAA first team for the third straight year after leading the league in scoring. Veldhouse was joined on the All-MIAA first team by Vande Kopple, junior goalkeeper Joe Westra (Grand Rapids, Mich.) and junior defensive backs Kurt Visker (Grand Rapids, Mich.) and Peter Malefyt (Lansing, Mich.).

Named to the All-MIAA second team from Calvin were junior forward Levi Kool (Holland, Mich.), junior midfielder Matt Cosnek (Hopewell, Pa.) and junior defensive back John VanWylen (Grand Rapids, Mich.).

Veldhouse, Westra, Vande Kopple and Visker were then named to the Great Lakes All-Region first team. Veldhouse led Calvin in scoring with 47 points on the strength of 19 goals and nine assists. Westra posted a Calvin single-season record goals-against-average of 0.36 while collecting a school record 14 shutout victories and registering 72 saves. Vande Kopple and Visker also helped a Calvin defensive unit that posted a single-season record 16 shutout victories during the season.

Veldhouse was named an ESPN: The Magazine First Team Academic All-American for the second straight year. Visker was named a second team All-American.

Sarah Weesies
Sarah Weesies (Kalamazoo, Mich.)

For the second straight year, the women’s soccer team finished one point out of first place in the MIAA standings; the Knights were 12-2-1 in the MIAA, one point behind league champion Hope (12-1-2). Calvin also finished 14-5-1 overall, reaching the double-digits in victories for the 16th straight year.

Calvin opened the season by dropping its first three games but rebounded to post a 10-1-1 mark over its next 12 games to move into sole possession of first place in the MIAA standings. In a mid-October showdown, Hope knocked Calvin out of first place with a 3-2 sudden-death overtime victory. Although Calvin won its final four games of the year, it was not enough to catch up to Hope, which maintained its one-point lead over Calvin in the conference during the final two weeks of the season.

Sophomore forward Jill Capel (Hudsonville, Mich.) led the Calvin offensive attack with a team-leading 57 points on the strength of 21 goals and 15 assists. Her assist total is a new Calvin single-season record, breaking the previous record of 14 held by three other players. Capel also led the MIAA in scoring, with 19 goals, 14 assists and 51 points in league play, becoming the fifth Calvin player to capture an MIAA scoring crown in women’s soccer. Her point total is the fifth-highest total in MIAA single-season history, while her goal total is the sixth-best and her assist total the third-best. For her efforts, Capel was named to the All-MIAA first team for the second straight year.

Capel was part of a powerful one-two combination up front, as sophomore teammate Sarah Weesies (Kalamazoo, Mich.) tallied 16 goals, eight assists and 40 points from her forward position. Weesies finished second in the MIAA scoring race and, like Capel, was named to the All-MIAA first team for the second straight year.

Also named to the All-MIAA first team from Calvin was sophomore sweeper back Tricia DeVries (Grand Rapids, Mich.), who helped the Knights post six shutout victories in league play.

Named to the All-MIAA second team from Calvin were senior midfielder Linnea Butler (Shelton, Wash.) and junior midfielder Kara Zuidema (Escondido, Calif.).

Weesies and senior defensive back Kristen Carlson (Encinitas, Calif.) were also both honored academically by being named to the ESPN: The Magazine Academic All-District IV second team.

Under the direction of third-year head coach Amber Warners, the women’s volleyball team captured its third MIAA tournament title and advanced to the NCAA III Tournament for the 14th time in school history. Calvin finished the year with a 28-9 overall record and took second in the MIAA regular-season standings with a 14-2 conference record. Calvin then swept through the MIAA tournament, defeating St. Mary’s in the first round and Kalamazoo in the semifinals and then upsetting nationally ranked and previously unbeaten Alma in four games in the MIAA tournament championship final.

Calvin then traveled to Pella, Iowa, where it competed at an NCAA III Tournament regional hosted by Central College. Calvin opened the tournament with a first-round victory over Nebraska Wesleyan, marking Calvin’s first NCAA III Tournament victory since 1997. The Knights then bowed out in the second round with a four-game loss to defending national champion Washington University (Mo.). Washington University would later finish as the national runner-up.

In Calvin’s first-round MIAA tournament victory over St. Mary’s, Warners achieved a milestone, recording the 100th victory of her collegiate coaching career. Having also coached one year at Hope College, Warners has a collegiate coaching record of 103-35, for a winning percentage of .746.

Calvin opened the year with a five-day trip through the state of Colorado. After dropping its season opener at the Colorado School of Mines, Calvin rebounded to capture the championship of the Pikes Peak Challenge, hosted by Colorado College, with four victories in the Labor Day weekend tournament. Senior middle-hitter Kara Kuipers (Hudsonville, Mich.) was named the tournament’s MVP and landed a spot on the all-tournament team, along with freshman setter Katie Zondervan (Lakewood, Calif.). Kuipers would go on to earn all-tournament honors at the Elmhurst Invitational and Midwest Invitational. Senior Kristin DeGroot (Tulare, Calif.) also landed an all-tournament spot at the Wittenberg Invitational.

Kuipers, Zondervan and DeGroot also achieved post-season honors, as all three were named to the All-MIAA first team, with Kuipers receiving the honor for the second straight year. DeGroot was also voted the MIAA’s Defensive Player of the Year, and Zondervan was named the MIAA’s Freshman of the Year.

Kuipers was ranked among the nation’s leaders in blocks per game throughout the fall, while Zondervan was among the nation’s top 10 in assists per game.

Tim Finnegan
Tim Finnegan (Los Alamos, N.M.)

The men’s cross country team came up with another season for the history books, as the Knights captured their second consecutive national title—their third in the last five years.

Calvin also took first place at the MIAA jamboree, with a perfect score of 15 points; the Knights repeated their perfect score at the MIAA Championships at Calvin’s new cross country course, located on the Gainey Athletic Complex on Calvin’s east campus. In sweeping the top eight spots and posting a first-place score of 15 points in the men’s race, Calvin became the first league school to record perfect scores in back-to-back seasons. The MIAA title by the Calvin men also extended their championship streak to 17 years, marking the second-longest championship streak in MIAA athletic history. The longest championship streak in league history is the incredible 66-year run by the Kalamazoo College men’s tennis team, dating back to the 1936 season.

At the MIAA championship, Calvin took the top eight spots, with senior Hendrik Kok (Lynden, Wash.) taking first place in a time of 25:32; senior teammate Dave Haagsma (Grand Rapids, Mich.) came in second with a time of 25:41. The rest of Calvin’s top eight finishers included senior Jeff Engbers (Whitinsville, Mass.) in third place (25:43), senior Andy Yazzie (Rehoboth, N.M.) in fourth place (26:10), sophomore Tim Finnegan (Los Alamos, N.M.) in fifth place (26:15), freshman Bill Reynolds (New-town Square, Pa.) in sixth place (26:28) sophomore Ben Hammer (Williamsburg, Mich.) in seventh place (26:32) and junior Harrison Jorritsma (Ancaster, Ont.) in eighth place (26:39).

Haagsma earned the MIAA’s MVP award for the second straight year and landed a spot on the All-MIAA first team along with Kok, Yazzie, Finnegan, Hammer, Engbers and Jorritsma. Engbers, Yazzie and Kok all made their third appearance on the All-MIAA first team, while Kok and Finnegan made their second appearance. Hammer and Jorritsma made their first appearance on the All-MIAA first team.

At the Great Lakes Regional meet hosted two weeks later at Alma College, Calvin took first place with a total of 33 points, taking five of the top 11 spots. Leading the way for Calvin was Kok, who took fourth with a time of 24:27. He was followed by Engbers in fifth (24:38), Finnegan in sixth (24:41), Yazzie in seventh (24:52) and Reynolds in 11th (24:59). Rounding out Calvin’s finishers were Haagsma in 15th (25:09) and Hammer in 18th (25:12). All seven Calvin runners were named to the Great Lakes All-Region team.

At the NCAA III Championships on November 20 in Eau Claire, Wis., Calvin took first place with a score of 107 points— 30 points ahead of runner-up North Central College (Ill.). Calvin placed five runners in the top 51, led by Engbers, who garnered an All-American berth with a 20th-place time of 25:11. Engbers was one of three All-Americans for Calvin; Finnegan was 28th (25:13) and Haagsma 30th (25:13). Kok was Calvin’s fourth man, placing 39th in 25:21. Yazzie, the all-important fifth man, took 51st in 25:31. Just 20 seconds separated Calvin’s top five runners. Rounding out Calvin’s finishers were Reynolds in 90th (25:51) and Hammer in 107th (26:04).

After the race, head coaches Brian Diemer and Al Hoekstra were named Division III Men’s Cross Country Co-Coaches of the Year for the second consecutive year and for the third time in the last five years.

Bethany Hofman and Jenny Zylstra
Bethany Hofman (Holland, Mich.) and Jenny Zylstra (Lombard, Ill.)

Under the leadership of head coach Nancy Meyer, the women’s cross country team earned MIAA runner-up honors, as Hope snapped Calvin’s 16-year run as MIAA champions. Hope took first place at both the MIAA jamboree and at the MIAA championship, finishing 14 points ahead of Calvin at the jamboree and 36 points ahead of the Knights at the conference meet.

Calvin posted a second-place total of 60 points at the MIAA championship, with junior Lindsay Kroonenberg (Denver, Colo.) as its top individual finisher. She took second with a time of 23:58. Sophomore Lydia Singer (Wilmington, Del.) also cracked the top 10, taking ninth with a time of 24:42.

Rounding out Calvin’s top seven were sophomore Laura Holtrop (Derwood, Md.) in 15th (25:17), sophomore Melissa VandenBerg (Grand Rapids, Mich.) in 19th (25:25), freshman Jenny Zylstra (Lombard, Ill.) in 21st (25:32), sophomore Bethany Hofman (Holland, Mich.) in 26th (25:39) and freshman Christina Overbeck (Seattle, Wash.) in 39th (26:14).

Kroonenberg and Singer both landed spots on the All-MIAA first team, while Zylstra, Hofman, Holtrop and VandenBerg landed berths on the All-MIAA second team.

At the Great Lakes Regional meet hosted by Alma two weeks later, Calvin took 15th with a team score of 385 points. Calvin’s top finisher was Kroonenberg, with a time of 23:04 that was good for 43rd place. She was followed by Singer in 53rd (23:17). Other Calvin finishers included VandenBerg in 89th (24:03), Zylstra in 96th (24:15), Hofman in 103rd (24:24), Holtrop in 124th (24:52) and Overbeck in 136th (25:08).

Under the leadership of head coach Jim Timmer Jr., the men’s golf team took fifth in the MIAA standings, four strokes behind Albion. Calvin finished with a final team average of 321.3 strokes per round.

Sophomore Jeff TenBrink (Kalamazoo, Mich.) was Calvin’s top finisher in the final MIAA standings, with an average of 78.0 strokes per round, good for 15th place on the MIAA list. Seniors Mike Bratt (Lynden, Wash.) and Matt Kelly (Muskegon, Mich.) also cracked the top 20; Bratt finished 18th (80.9) and Kelly 20th (81.3) in the final league standings.

At the second MIAA outing of the year, TenBrink earned co-medalist honors with a round of 70. The outing was held at the Bedford Valley Country Club in Marshall, with Olivet serving as host.

TenBrink’s final season average of 78.0 strokes per round marked the sixth-best single-season MIAA average in Calvin men’s golf history.

Margaret Tassaro (Carnegie, Penn.)

Led by head coach Jerry Bergsma, the women’s golf team took fifth in a highly competitive nine-team league race, finishing two strokes ahead of Alma and four strokes ahead of Hope. Heading into the season-ending 36-hole MIAA tournament, Calvin sat in sixth place in the league standings, three strokes ahead of Hope and nine strokes behind Alma. Calvin then fired a two-day total of 742 strokes at the MIAA tournament, one stroke better than Hope and 11 strokes better than Alma to move into fifth place in the final league standings.

Senior Dawn Svenkeson (Scandia, Minn.) was the catalyst in Calvin’s MIAA tournament run, firing a two-day total of 172 strokes (91-81) that was the ninth-best individual score at the tournament.

Junior Annie Huizenga (Hudsonville, Mich.) led Calvin in the final MIAA individual standings with an average of 89.4 strokes per round, which also established a new Calvin single-season record. Huizenga held the previous Calvin single-season record at 91 strokes per round. This fall, she was one of three individuals to surpass that mark, as junior Margaret Tassaro (Carnegie, Pa.) was 15th in the MIAA standings with an average of 89.4, and Svenkeson was 16th with an average of 90.4.

Earlier in the season, Calvin hosted the Calvin/Hope Invitational at the Thornapple Pointe Golf Club, where Huizenga earned medalist honors with a collegiate-best round of 79. Annie is the first individual in Calvin women’s golf history to earn medalist honors at a multiple-team invitational.