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Senior savors final moments of a standout volleyball season
By Lynn Bolt Rosendale

The exclamation point to a great regular season turned out to be a little tip to the center of the Hope College volleyball team's defense that fell unreturned. It was Christine Hendricks' 19th kill of the match and match point in the decisive game five of the MIAA tournament championship.

The victory (27-30, 30-25, 30-26, 29-31, 15-13) secured an automatic bid for the Knights in the NCAA III Tournament, their second straight.

And it secured another week of play for Hendricks, a senior, who was not looking forward to the end of her volleyball career at Calvin.

"It's a bonus to be able to keep playing," said Hendricks, who also tallied 25 digs and five blocks in the victory. "I've watched the seniors go through this before, and I understand now how they don't want it to end."

Her four-year career at Calvin saw lots of ups and downs, she said. She has never been a member of an MIAA championship volleyball team, yet the Knights have won the conference tournament for two consecutive years, earning the team national tournament berths.

The 5-11 middle hitter has gone from a junior varsity player her freshman year to a front-row only to an all-around player this year.

"She has improved tremendously during her four years here," coach Amber Warners said. "She has become an excellent all-around player."

In fact, Hendricks was named All-MIAA first team this year, finishing ninth in the MIAA in kills per game (3.48) and eighth in service aces (0.46). She was named MIAA Player of the Week twice and later earned a spot on the Great Lakes All-Region team. She capped off the year by receiving honorable mention All-American honors from the American Volleyball Coaches Association.

Christine Hendricks
Christine Hendricks (Cincinnati, Ohio)

A Cincinnati, Ohio, native, Hendricks excelled in both volleyball and track in high school. She chose Calvin because of its Christian commitment and because she hoped to continue on in both sports.

"I went to a public high school (Turpin High School), and I wanted to attend a Christian college where I could see my beliefs put into practice more every day," she said. While playing volleyball at Calvin, Hendricks has seen her skills improve greatly, "but volleyball at Calvin is about more than just that," she said. "It's about improving your character as a woman in Christ. It's really about how to be a better person."

Hendricks is also a standout in track and was named the league's Most Valuable Field Performer last spring after winning the javelin. She is a two-time All-American in the heptathlon, finishing third at nationals last year. Her goal is a national championship in that event this year. "I knew I wanted to compete in the heptathlon in high school," she said. "I've always liked all of the events."

Despite the time commitment of being a two-sport collegiate athlete, Hendricks also excels in the classroom. She is a three-time member of the MIAA Academic Honor Roll. A mathematics major, Hendricks has plans to be an actuary.

"I'm so glad that I chose Calvin," Hendricks said. "I couldn't be happier with the experiences I've been able to have and all of the people I've met and the learning I've done towards my degree."

National championship runs in two sports have only added to the total experience, she said. In the Knights' most recent run, the volleyball team advanced to the Sweet 16 before being eliminated by fifth-ranked Wittenberg University (Ohio). Calvin ended the season with a 30-9 record—the first 30-win season for the Knights in 10 years.