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2007 fall sports recap: Five fall sports win conference championships

The 2007 fall sports season was a landmark season for Calvin athletics as the Knights captured five MIAA fall sports titles—becoming the first school in MIAA history to win five league titles in the fall season. MIAA champions from Calvin were men's and women's cross country, men's and women's soccer and women's volleyball.

MEN'S CROSS COUNTRY
The men's cross country team, led by head coach Brian Diemer, captured its 21st consecutive MIAA title and its 34th overall. The streak is the second-longest active championship streak in MIAA athletics history, surpassed only by the current string of 69 consecutive MIAA titles by the Kalamazoo men's tennis program.

Tad Hulst, Jon Gries, Jed ChristiansenAt the MIAA championships, Calvin posted a perfect score of 15 points, taking the top six spots including 10 of the top 11. Calvin featured an impressive 39-second spread between its first and sixth runner. Calvin's top six was split into two packs of three. Senior Tad Hulst (Zeeland, Mich.) led the lead pack, winning the race in 25:30, while senior Jed Christiansen (Greenville, Pa.) was second (25:30) and senior Jon Gries (King of Prussia, Pa.) third (25:31). Calvin's second pack was led by senior Dan VandenAkker (Leota, Minn.), who placed fourth (26:05), followed by junior Erik VanKampen (Elmhurst, Ill.) in fifth (26:07) and junior Nate DeHaan (Byron Center, Mich.) in sixth (26:09).

Calvin also featured a third pack of four runners headed by junior Tim Langenberg (Grand Ledge, Mich.) in eighth place (26:26), followed by sophomore George Visser (Winfield, Ill.) in ninth (26:34), junior Andrew Stutzman (Kutztown, Pa.) in 10th (26:34) and sophomore Aaron Goodman (Milwaukee, Wis.) in 11th (26:36).

Hulst was named the MIAA's Most Valuable Runner and earned a spot on the All-MIAA team. He was joined on the All-MIAA team from Calvin by Christiansen, DeHaan, Gries, VandenAkker, VanKampen and Stutzman.

Two weeks later, Calvin hosted the Great Lakes Regional meet for the first time. Calvin used the home course advantage, posting a first-place score of 27 points. Christiansen led the way with a first-place finish while Hulst was second, Gries third, VanKampen sixth, DeHaan 15th, VandenAkker 23rd and Langenberg 30th. All seven Calvin runners were named to the Great Lakes All-Region team. Diemer was later named the Great Lakes Regional Coach of the Year, while Christiansen was named the Great Lakes Regional Athlete of the Year.

At the NCAA III Championships held on the campus of St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn., Calvin took fourth place, extending its string of top four national finishes to 10 years. Calvin scored a total of 214 points. Calvin had three All-American performances at the meet, as Hulst was 23rd, Christiansen 33rd and VanKampen 35th, with Christiansen winning All-American honors for the third straight year. Rounding out Calvin's finishers were Gries in 50th place, DeHaan in 146th, VandenAkker in 161st and Langenberg in 188th.

WOMEN'S CROSS COUNTRY
The women's cross country team was also led by Diemer, and the Knights captured their third consecutive MIAA title and their 19th overall. At the MIAA championships, Calvin posted a first-place score of 19 points, taking seven of the top eight spots and eight of the top 10. Calvin received a superlative effort from senior Christina Overbeck (Seattle, Wash.), who won the race with a time of 22:0. Just 26 seconds separated Calvin's second and seventh finishers, with junior Calah Schlabach (St. Michaels, Ariz.) third (22:53), junior Lauren Bergstrom (Century, Minn.) fourth (23:01), junior Jesi Hale (Rehoboth, N.M.) fifth (23:10), sophomore Jessica Koster (Grand Rapids, Mich.) sixth (23:16), senior Lynn Marsh (North Vernon, Ind.) seventh (23:17) and sophomore Liz Smit (Kirkland, Wash.) eighth (23:19). Overbeck was named the MIAA's Most Valuable Runner and landed a spot on the All-MIAA team. She was joined on the All-MIAA team from Calvin by Bergstrom, Schlabach, Hale, Koster, Marsh and Smit.

Two weeks later, Calvin hosted the Great Lakes Regional meet for the first time and took first place with a team score of 46 points. Calvin placed five runners in the top 13 including seven in the top 25 to win by a comfortable margin. Overbeck led the charge with a third-place finish. Bergstrom was Calvin's second finisher, placing eighth with a time of 22:02. Koster also had a big effort for the Knights, finishing 10th in a time of 22:05 while Marsh was 12th (22:08) and Schlabach 13th (22:11). Rounding out Calvin's finishers were Hale in 18th place (22:20) and Smit in 25th place (22:45). All seven Calvin runners landed spots on the Great Lakes All-Region team. The regional title was Calvin's first since 2002.

At the NCAA III Championships on the campus of St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn., Calvin took fourth place with a team score of 199 points. Overbeck was Calvin's top finisher, placing 37th, while Koster was 49th, Schlabach 52nd, Hale 83rd, Bergstrom 92nd, Marsh 115th and Smit 122nd.

MEN'S GOLF
Led by head coach Brian Bolt, the men's golf team took sixth in the final MIAA standings with an average of 321.5 strokes per round. With one junior, six sophomores and four freshmen, Calvin sported a youthful roster this fall. Calvin saved its best performance for last, firing a season-best score of 307 at the eighth and final MIAA outing of the year, which was hosted by Tri-State University at the Zollner Golf Club.

Jess HendriksmaCalvin's top individual finisher was freshman Eric Doezema (Grand Rapids, Mich.), who finished 14th in the final league standings with an average of 78.8 strokes per round, missing the top 12 and a spot on the All-MIAA second team by just one-tenth of a stroke. His season average was the 14th-best single-season MIAA average in Calvin men's golf history. Doezema posted three top-six performances at league outings during the year.

Also posting top-10 finishes for Calvin in league tournaments were freshman Jess Hendriksma (Grand Rapids, Mich.) and sophomore Kyle Harvey (Willard, Ohio).

WOMEN'S GOLF
Under the direction of head coach Jerry Bergsma, the women's golf team made a big jump this fall, moving up to sixth place in the final MIAA standings — an improvement of two spots from its 2006 MIAA finish — while lowering its final season stroke average by more than 43 strokes from its 2006 average.

Calvin opened the conference season by finishing ninth at the first league outing of the year but completed the year with a flourish, finishing fifth at the 36-hole conference tournament at the Bedford Valley Country Club.

Sophomore Emily Tuuk (Grand Rapids, Mich.) was Calvin's top individual finisher, averaging 88.8 strokes per round in league play, ranking 18th on the MIAA scoring average list this fall and second on the all-time Calvin women's golf list. Sophomore Kelli Visser (Grand Rapids, Mich.) was Calvin's next best finisher with an average of 91.8 strokes per round, while senior Linnea Trippett (White Plains, N.Y.) had an average of 97.0 strokes per round, which ranks 21st on Calvin's all-time list. Sophomore Julienne Louters (Grand Rapids, Mich.) was next for Calvin with a season average of 100.0 strokes per round. Senior Erin Kammers (Belding, Mich.) was Calvin's final finisher with an average of 116.6.

MEN'S SOCCER
The men's soccer team, led by head coach Chris Hughes, captured its first outright MIAA title since 2004 and its 18th MIAA title overall. Calvin finished the season with an overall record of 14-5-2 and a conference mark of 11-1-1. The Knights opened the year with just a 3-4-1 record but proceeded to post a 12-0-1 record over their next 13 games.

In winning the MIAA title, Calvin earned a bid to the NCAA III Tournament, where the Knights suffered a heart-breaking 1-0 loss to John Carroll University (Ohio).

Calvin featured a plethora of scoring threats throughout the year as four players scored eight goals or more. Calvin's defense was also strong, as the Knights posted nine shutouts and finished the year with a goals-against average of 0.85.

Calvin placed a record five players on the All-MIAA first team led by senior Nick Capisciolto (Hudsonville, Mich.), who received the honor for the second time in his career. Also named to the All-MIAA first team from Calvin were junior A.J. Dufendach (Grand Rapids, Mich.), sophomores Greg Snapper (Madison, Wis.) and Michael Holwerda (Grand Rapids, Mich.), and freshman Scott Hooker (Hudsonville, Mich.).

Named to the All-MIAA second team from Calvin were junior goalkeeper Darrin Cline (Grandville, Mich.) and sophomore Luke Holtrop (Hudsonville, Mich.). Cline finished the year ranked 20th nationally in goals-against average (0.63). In conference play, Hooker finished second in the MIAA scoring race with 23 points, while Capisciolto was third (21 points) and Holwerda fourth (18 points).

As a team, Calvin led the league in scoring in conference games with 43 goals and had the fewest goals allowed with nine.

WOMEN'S SOCCER
Under the leadership of head coach Mark Recker, the women's soccer team captured its third straight MIAA title — its sixth overall — finishing 15-3-4 overall and 10-0-1 in league play. The Knights also finished 19th in the final Division III Top-25 poll. A midseason highlight came in Calvin's 2-0 win at Alma, marking the 100th victory of Recker's coaching career at Calvin. Recker will carry a record of 106-27-12 (.759) into the 2008 season.

Carly PrinsCalvin started the year with just a 2-3-1 record through its opening six games but then picked up momentum, winning 13 consecutive games. Calvin finished the year with an unbeaten streak of 17games, with its final three games all concluding in 0-0 double-overtime ties.

The first tie came in the MIAA tournament championship game against Albion. Although Calvin lost the shootout 3-2, the Knights still garnered enough season points to claim the MIAA's automatic bid to the NCAA III Tournament.

Calvin opened the NCAA III Tournament with a 0-0 double-overtime tie against Capital University (Ohio) but proceeded to win a penalty kick shootout 5-3. In the second round, Calvin fought host Wittenberg (Ohio) to another 0-0 double-overtime tie but came up short in the shootout by a 3-1 score.

Calvin placed three players on the All-MIAA first team, with junior Elizabeth Ribbens (Tinley Park, Ill.) receiving the award for the second time and junior Ashley Bolen (Urbana, Ill.) and freshman Carly Prins (Hudsonville, Mich.) receiving the honor for the first time.

Senior Leah Scholten (Hudsonville, Mich.) and sophomore Emily Ottenhoff (Palos Heights, Ill.) were named to the All-MIAA second team for the second straight year, while sophomore goalkeeper Alyssa Bergsma (Walker, Mich.) also landed a berth on the All-MIAA second team.

As a team, Calvin led the league in scoring in conference games with 38 goals and had the fewest goals allowed with three.

VOLLEYBALL
Led by head coach Amber Warners, the women's volleyball team captured its second straight MIAA regular-season title, its fourth straight MIAA tournament crown, advanced to the NCAA III Tournament for the fourth straight year and hit the 30-win plateau for the third consecutive season. Calvin finished the season with an overall record of 30-5 and ranked 15th in the final Division III Top-25 poll. The Knights also finished 15-1 in conference play.

During the season, Calvin captured the championship of the Millikin Fall Ball Invitational with senior middle hitter Molly Krikke (Greenwich, Ohio) receiving tournament MVP honors. Krikke was also named to three all-tournament teams during the year with senior Kristen Kalb (Stow, Ohio) and junior Jessica Garlick (Portage, Mich.) also receiving all-tournament honors during the year.

Calvin captured the MIAA tournament title with a 30-22, 30-19, 30-23 victory over Hope in the championship final. Calvin has now won six MIAA tournament titles — more than any other conference school.

In the first round of the NCAA III Tournament, Calvin defeated 18th-ranked Wisconsin-LaCrosse in four games but then fell to sixth-ranked Carthage (Wis.) in three games in a second-round match the following night.

Calvin's players received a raft of postseason awards led by Krikke, who was named to the Division III All-America second team, the Great Lakes All-Region team and to the All-MIAA first team. In addition, she was named the MIAA's Most Valuable Player, marking the 12th time a Calvin player received the honor. During the final week of the regular season, Krikke was also named the Division III National Player of the Week by the American Volleyball Coaches Association, becoming the third player in Calvin volleyball history to be so honored.

Senior setter Katie Zondervan (Lakewood, Calif.) was named to the Division III All-America third team and also landed a spot on the Great Lakes All-Region team and All-MIAA first team. Zondervan was named to the All-MIAA first team for the fourth straight year, becoming just the fifth player in MIAA women's volleyball history to achieve the feat. Zondervan finished her career as Calvin's all-time leader in assists (6,498).

An outside hitter, Kalb was also named to the All-MIAA first team and to the Great Lakes All-Region team and received Division III honorable mention All-American honors. She finished her career as Calvin's all-time leader in kills (1,934). Junior libero Lauren DeGroot (Tulare, Calif.) was named to the All-MIAA second team and to the Great Lakes All-Region team. She also received Division III honorable mention All-American accolades.