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2006 Fall Sports Recap: Four teams earn national tournament berths, one crowned champ

MEN'S CROSS COUNTRY   
Led by head coach Brian Diemer, the men’s cross country team had a year for the record books as the Knights won their 20th consecutive MIAA title, their 10th consecutive Great Lakes Regional crown and their third national title in the last four years.

Calvin Pack

At the MIAA championships hosted by Alma College in late October, Calvin took first place with a score of 17 points. Calvin took six of the top seven spots, led by senior Tim Finnegan (Los Alamos, N.M.) with a first-place time of 25:01, finishing a half-step ahead of sophomore teammate Jed Christiansen (Greenville, Pa.), who was second in the same time. Junior Jon Gries (King of Prussia, Pa.) also ran a strong race, finishing third with a time of 25:14.Rounding out Calvin’s top seven finishers were junior Tad Hulst (Zeeland, Mich.) in fifth place (25:27), senior Harrison Jorritsma (Beamsville, Ont.) in sixth place (25:38), sophomore Erik VanKampen (Elmhurst, Ill.) in seventh place (25:54) and sophomore Nate DeHaan (Byron Center, Mich.) in eighth place (26:00).

All seven Calvin finishers were named to the All-MIAA first team, with Finnegan receiving MIAA MVP honors for the second straight year and landing a spot on the All-MIAA first team for the fourth consecutive year.

At the Great Lakes Regional meet hosted by Hanover College (Ind.), Calvin took first place with a team score of 17 points, taking the top four spots, including five of the top seven. Finnegan captured the regional title for the second straight year with a time of 25:25. Finnegan ran in a tight pack of four, as Christiansen was second in 25:29, Gries third in 25:33 and Jorritsma fourth in 25:38.

The surprise of the race for Calvin came from VanKampen, who stepped up to serve as Calvin’s fifth finisher, placing seventh individually in a time of 25:50. Hulst was the next finisher for the Knights, placing 12th in 26:04, while DeHaan was 14th in26:06.

All seven Calvin runners earned spots on the Great Lakes All-Region team, while Finnegan was named Great Lakes Regional Athlete of the Year and Diemer Great Lakes Region Coach of the Year. At the national meet, Calvin took first place with a score of 37 points with six of Calvin’s seven runners earning All-American honors (see story p.8). The U.S. Track and Field Coaches Association named Diemer the Division III Men’s Cross Country Coach of the Year.

WOMEN'S CROSS COUNTRY
Diemer also served as head coach of the women’s cross country team for the first time and led the Knights to their second straight MIAA title, a second-place Great Lakes Regional finish and a third-place finish at the NCAA III Championships.

At the MIAA championships held at Alma College in late October, Calvin posted just the second perfect score (15 points) in MIAA women’s cross country championships history, as the Knights took eight of the top nine spots.

Women's Cross CountryCalvin senior Camille Medema (Grand Rapids, Mich.) won the 6K race in a time of 22:58, while junior teammate Christina Overbeck (Seattle, Wash.) was second in 23:03. Senior Lydia Singer (Wilmington, Del.) was next for Calvin in its 1-2-3-4-5 finish; she placed third in 23:25. Sophomore Calah Schlabach (St. Michaels, Ariz.) followed her in fourth place (23:35) and sophomore Lauren Bergstrom (Century, Minn.) took fifth place (23:35).

Rounding out Calvin’s top seven were sophomore Kelly Edwards (Grand Blanc, Mich.) in seventh (24:22) and freshman Mary Tolsma (Hawthorn, N.J.) in eighth place (24:24). Other Calvin finishers of note included sophomore Anne Fennema (Brookfield, Wis.) in ninth place (24:31), junior Lynn Marsh (North Vernon, Ind.) in ninth place (24:38), freshman Elizabeth Smit (Kirkland, Wash.) in 12th place (24:42), freshman Jessi Hale (Rehoboth, N.M.) in 14th place (24:47), senior Laura Holtrop (Rockville, Md.) in 15th place (24:51) and senior Nikki Reckman (Sarnia, Ont.) in 16th place (24:53).

Medema was named the MIAA’s Most Valuable Runner and landed a spot on the All-MIAA first team for the fourth straight year. Overbeck, Bergstrom, Schlabach, Singer, Tolsma and Marsh joined her on the All-MIAA first team from Calvin.

At the Great Lakes Regional meet hosted by Hanover College (Ind.), Calvin took second place with 57 points, finishing just four points behind Case Western Reserve University (Ohio). Calvin placed four runners in the top seven led by Medema, who was fourth in 22:15. Calvin’s Overbeck followed her in fifth place, while Schlabach took sixth (22:31) and Singer took seventh (22:32).

Calvin’s fifth runner was Bergstrom, who placed 35th in 23:48. Rounding out Calvin’s finishers were Edwards in 42nd place (24:09) and Holtrop in 50th place (24:21). Medema, Overbeck, Schlabach, Singer and Bergstrom all earned spots on the Great Lakes All-Region team, which are awarded to finishers in the top 35.

At the NCAA III Championships the following week in Mason, Ohio, Calvin took third behind three All-American performances (see story p.9), finishing just five points behind national champion Middlebury College (Vt.) and four points behind runner-up Amherst College (Mass.). The 1-2-3 finish was the closest in NCAA III Women’s Cross Country Championships history.

WOMEN'S SOCCER
Under the guidance of sixth-year head coach Mark Recker, the women’s soccer team put together the finest season in school history, finishing 22-0-1 overall and advancing to the national quarterfinals of the NCAA III Tournament — marking Calvin’s best-ever finish in the national tournament. Calvin also finished fifth in the final Division III Top 25 poll of the year. Calvin also captured its second consecutive MIAA title and won its first-ever MIAA tournament crown, defeating rival Hope 3-1 in the MIAA tournament championship game. Recker was later named Great Lakes Regional Coach of the Year and MIAA Coach of the Year.

Calvin’s lone blemish was a 1-1 double-overtime tie with defending national champion Messiah College (Pa.) in the national quarterfinals with the Knights dropping a penalty kick shootout, ending their season.

Women's soccer wins the MIAA championshipDuring the year, Calvin allowed just six goals and posted 17 shutout victories, finishing third nationally in team goals-against average (0.256) and fourth in shutout percentage (0.74). Calvin led the nation in winning percentage (.978) and was fourth in goal-keeper save percentage  (.971).

­­Individually, freshman goalkeeper Alyssa Bergsma (Walker, Mich.) finished seventh individually in goals-against average (0.337) and seventh in saves percentage (0.882), while senior Jill Capel (Hudsonville, Mich.) finished 39th in assists per game (0.52).

Capel was named the MIAA’s Most Valuable Player for the second consecutive year. She was also named to the All-MIAA first team for the fourth straight year, as was senior teammate Sarah Weesies (Kalamazoo, Mich.). Together, Capel and Weesies are two of just nine players in MIAA women’s soccer history to receive the award four straight years.

Also named to the All-MIAA first team from Calvin was senior Tricia DeVries (Grand Rapids, Mich.), while sophmore Elizabeth Ribbens (Tinley Park, Ill.), senior Leah Scholten (Hudsonville, Mich.), sophomore Ashley Bolen (Urbana, Ill.) and freshman Emily Ottenhoff (Palos Heights, Ill.) were named to the All-MIAA second team. Receiving honorable mention recognition from the MIAA coaches were seniors Noell Berghuis (Hudsonville, Mich.) and Laura Rooks (Holland, Mich.), sophomore Juliana Litts (Alexandria, Va.), and freshmen Natalie Veurink (Spring Lake, Mich.), Alyssa Bergsma and Kayla Sulzer (St. Charles, Mo.).

The National Soccer Coaches Association named Capel and Weesies to the Great Lakes All-Region first team and named Ribbens to the third team. In addition, DeVries was named a third team All-American by D3kicks.com and was voted to the D3kicks.com Great Lakes All-Region first team. Also receiving All-Region honors from D3kicks.com were Capel, Weesies, Ottenhoff and Ribbens.

Finally, Weesies and DeVries both received ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District honors — DeVries was named to the second team and Weesies to the third team.

VOLLEYBALL
The women’s volleyball team had a banner year, winning its first MIAA regular-season title since 1999, its third consecutive MIAA tournament title and advancing to the NCAA III Tour-nament round of 16 for the second straight year.

Led by head coach Amber Warners, Calvin finished the year with a 34-2 overall record, hitting the 30-win plateau for the second straight year and for the eighth time in school history. Calvin also finished unbeaten in the MIAA regular season, going 16-0 in conference play. In the MIAA tournament championship finals, Calvin defeated rival Hope in a five-game thriller. Calvin then defeated Hope in a second-round NCAA III Tournament match, with the Knights posting a 4-0 record against their rivals from Holland during the 2006 season.

Kristin Kalb AttackKristin Kalb

Ranked 13th in the final Division III Top 25 poll of the year, Calvin’s only regular-season defeat was a five-game loss to Ohio Northern in mid-September. The Knights then rattled off 25 straight victories before falling to Wittenberg (Ohio) in the third round of the NCAA III Tournament in mid-November.

Warners was named MIAA Coach of the Year and Great Lakes Region Coach of the Year. Her players also received a plethora of postseason honors. Senior Kristen Kalb (Stow, Ohio) was named the MIAA’s Most Valuable Player and was named to the All-MIAA first team, along with juniors Molly Krikke (Greenwich, Ohio) and Katie Zondervan (Lakewood, Calif.). Senior Lorilyn Vogel (Orange City, Iowa) and sophomore Lauren DeGroot (Tulare, Calif.) were named to the All-MIAA second team, while senior Katy Luimes (Caledonia, Ont.) and freshman Kelsey Sears (Traverse City, Mich.) received honorable mention recognition from the MIAA coaches.

Kalb, Krikke, Vogel and Zondervan were named to the Great Lakes All-Region team while DeGroot received All-Region honorable mention honors. The American Volleyball Coaches Association of America named Kalb a first team All-American, while Krikke was named a second team All-American. Zondervan and Vogel also received honorable mention All-American honors.

MEN'S SOCCER
Led by head coach Chris Hughes, the men’s soccer team hit the double-digit plateau in victories for the ninth consecutive year, finishing 10-5-5 overall. The Knights also took third in the final MIAA standings, posting an 8-2-4 conference mark. With a youthful team, Calvin stumbled a bit out of the gates, recording a 3-5-3 record through its first 11 games. Over the final nine games of the season, however, Calvin went unbeaten, recording a 7-0-2 mark in that stretch.

Senior defender Maurice Wright (Wauwatosa, Wis.) was a team leader throughout the season, scoring three goals and collecting two assists while also helping anchor a Calvin defense that came up with nine shut-outs during the season. Wright was later named to the All-MIAA first team, the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Great Lakes All-Region first team and to the D3kicks.com Great Lakes All-Region third team. Wright also picked up MIAA Defensive Player of the Week honors once during the year.  

Nathan Kooi HeaderCalvin also featured several talented first-year players, which included freshman forward Alex McKenzie (Lindenhurst, Ill.) and freshman sweeper back Greg Snapper (Madison, Wis.), who were both named to the All-MIAA second team. McKenzie had five goals and three assists on the year while Snapper started in all 20 of Calvin’s games and was named MIAA Defensive Player of the Week once.

Another senior leader was midfielder David Holwerda (Grand Rapids, Mich.), who was honored with the MIAA’s Zuidema Award. The Zuidema Award has been awarded since 1999 and honors Marvin Zuidema, longtime men’s soccer coach and athletic administrator at Calvin College. The recipient is to be a senior selected for his contributions to team play, leadership qualities, demonstration of ethical virtues, and excellence in athletics and academics.

During the year, Holwerda served as a team tri-captain. He finished his career with 19 goals and six assists, including six goals and two assists this fall. Perhaps his most notable achievement, however, was his ability to come back from Hodgkin’s disease during his sophomore year of 2004. Holwerda was diagnosed with the condition in late fall 2003 and missed the spring semester of the 2003–04 academic year while undergoing treatment. In fall 2004, Holwerda returned to school and to the Calvin men’s soccer team, scoring eight goals, including three game-winners.

Along with junior midfielder Jared Litty (Hudsonville, Mich.) and senior defensive back Nathan Kooi (Lynden, Wash.), Holwerda received honorable mention recognition from the MIAA coaches.

MEN'S GOLF
Under the direction of head coach Brian Bolt, the men’s golf team took fifth in the final MIAA standings with a team average of 313.8 strokes per round. After a seventh-place finish at the first MIAA outing of the year, Calvin rebounded to finish fourth or better in four of the final league tournaments of the year.

Aaron HargettAaron Hargett

Calvin’s top individual finishers were senior Jeff TenBrink (Kalamazoo, Mich.), sophomore Brad Tindall (Vicksburg, Mich.) and freshman Aaron Hargett (Lakewood, Mich.). TenBrink finished 16th in the final MIAA individual standings (78.0), while Tindall and Hargett were tied for 17th (78.8). TenBrink finished in the top six in league tournaments three times during the fall, while Tindall and Hargett both had one top-10 finish.

Freshman Jon Kuiper (Grand Rapids, Mich.) also had a top-25 finish in the final league standings, placing 25th with an average of 80.7 strokes per round. TenBrink’s final MIAA season average tied the seventh-best average in Calvin men’s golf history, while Tindall’s and Hargett’s averages were both in the top 15.

WOMEN'S GOLF
Led by head coach Jerry Bergsma, the women’s golf team took seventh in the final MIAA standings with a team average of 421.5 strokes per round.

Jessica BrugginkJessica Bruggink

Calvin’s top individual finisher was freshman Kelli Visser (Grand Rapids, Mich.), who ranked 31st in the final MIAA individual standings with an MIAA season average of 99.3 strokes per round. Calvin’s next-best finisher was freshman Julienne Louters (Grand Rapids, Mich.) with an average of 105.5 strokes per round, followed by junior Linnea Trippett (White Plains, N.Y.) with an average of 108.0, sophomore Jessica Bruggink (Hudsonville, Mich.) with an average of 109.5 and sophomore Juanita Gibson (Detroit, Mich.) with an average of 111.7.

Visser had a pair of strong efforts down the final stretch of the season. At the third league tournament of the year, Visser fired a round of 90. At the Sienna Heights Invitational, she carded a season-best score of 88 that was good for fifth place. She then closed out the season with a score of 99 at the MIAA tournament, despite competing in cold and wet playing conditions.