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2008 fall sports recap: Calvin teams claim four MIAA titles

2008 MIAA Women's Soccer Champs

MEN'S CROSS COUNTRY
Under the direction of head coach Brian Diemer, the men’s cross country team captured its 22nd consecutive MIAA title, its 13th consecutive Great Lakes Regional title and then placed fifth at the NCAA III Championships.

Erik Van Kampen and Jed ChristiansenSeniors Jed Christiansen (Greenville, Pa., far right) and Erik VanKampen (Elmhurst, Ill., near right) both earned Division III All-America honors with Christiansen doing so for the fourth straight year and VanKampen achieving the feat for the third straight season.

Calvin recorded a perfect score of 15 points at the MIAA jamboree and followed with a first place score of 18 points at the MIAA Championships. At the MIAA Championships, Calvin took the top four spots including seven of the top 10 led by Christiansen who churned to a first place time of 24:39. He was followed by VanKampen and senior Nate DeHaan (Byron Center, Mich.) in second (24:54) and third place (25:11), respectively. Senior Dan VandenAkker (Grand Rapids, Mich.) was close behind in fourth place (25:18) with junior George Visser (Winfield, Ill.) in eighth (25:20), senior Tim Langenberg (Grand Ledge, Mich.) in ninth (25:23) and freshman Nick Kramer (Dyer, Ind.) in 10th (25:28) to round out Calvin’s top seven.

Christiansen was named the MIAA’s Most Valuable Runner and landed a spot on the All-MIAA first team for the fourth straight year, becoming the 16th four-time All-MIAA men’s cross country runner in league history. VanKampen and DeHaan both landed spots on the All-MIAA first team for the third time while VandenAkker did so for the second time. Kramer and Visser were both named to the All-MIAA first team for the first time.

At the Great Lakes Regional meet, Calvin took first place with 37 points led by Christiansen who took first place with a time of 24:44 to capture his second straight Great Lakes Regional individual title. He was followed by VanKampen in second, DeHaan in third, VandenAkker in 10th, Langenberg in 21st, sophomore Jake Christiansen (New Ipswich, N.H.) in 31st and Visser in 32nd. All seven runners were named to the Great Lakes All-Region team with Christiansen receiving Great Lakes Region Athlete of the Year honors. In addition, Diemer was named the Great Lakes Regional Coach of the Year.

At the NCAA III Championships, Calvin posted a fifth place team score of 239 points. Christiansen was Calvin’s top finisher, placing sixth while VanKampen was 23rd. Rounding out Calvin’s finishers were VandenAkker in 74th, DeHaan in 94th, Langenberg in 140th, Christiansen in 163rd and Visser in 248th.

Cross country womenWOMEN'S CROSS COUNTRY
Like the men’s team, the women’s cross country team was led by Diemer as head coach. The Knights had a banner year, winning their 20th MIAA title in the last 21 years, their second consecutive Great Lakes Regional crown and taking second at the NCAA III Championships. Senior Lauren Bergstrom (Rochester, Minn.; pictured at right, middle) also picked up an All-America berth at the NCAA III Championships.

Ranked number one for several weeks during the season, Calvin took first place at the MIAA jamboree and MIAA Championships, recording a team score of 20 points at the MIAA jamboree and 23 points at the MIAA Championships. At the MIAA Championships, senior Calah Schlabach (St. Michaels, Ariz.; pictured above, at left) was second (22:10) followed by Bergstrom in third (22:12). Also cracking the top 10 for the Calvin women were junior Jessica Koster (Grand Rapids, Mich.; pictured above, at right) in fifth (22:24), junior Elizabeth Smit (Kirkland, Wash.) in sixth (22:26), senior Jesi Hale (Gallup, N.M.) in seventh (22:44), senior Kelly Edwards (Grand Blanc, Mich.) in eighth (22:47) and junior Mary Tolsma (Hawthorne, N.J.) in ninth (22:49).

Named to the All-MIAA first team from Calvin were Schlabach, Bergstrom, Koster, Hale, Smit and Edwards with Tolsma landing a spot on the All-MIAA second team. Schlabach was an All-MIAA first team athlete for the fourth straight year, becoming just the ninth individual in MIAA women’s cross country history to be so honored. Bergstrom was honored for the third straight year while Smit, Hale and Koster claimed the honor for the second straight fall.

At the Great Lakes Regional meet, Calvin took first place with a team score of 42 points. Bergstrom was fourth and Schlabach fifth followed by Hale in 10th, Smit in 11th and Edwards in 12th. Junior Nicole Farr (Wheaton, Ill.) was 22nd while Tolsma was 30th, All seven Calvin runners were named to the Great Lakes All-Region team while Diemer was named the Great Lakes Regional Coach of the Year.

At the NCAA III Championships, Calvin posted a second-place team score of 237 points with Bergstrom 21st, Schlabach 42nd, Hale 88th, Edwards 90th, Smith 127th, Farr 186th and Koster 276th. It marked Calvin’s fourth national runner-up finish—its first since 1994.

MEN'S GOLF
Erik Doezema
Led by head coach Brian Bolt, the men’s golf team took fifth in the final MIAA standings, posting a team average of 314.1 strokes-per-round. Sophomore Jess Hendriksma (Grand Rapids, Mich.) was Calvin’s top individual finisher in the league standings, finishing in a three-way tie for 13th place with an average of 78.0 strokes-per-round which matches the seventh-best single-season average in Calvin men’s golf history.

Junior Jon Kuiper (Grand Rapids, Mich.) was Calvin’s next-best finisher, placing 18th in the final league standings with an average of 78.7 strokes-per-round. Calvin also had two other individuals crack the MIAA’s top 25 with junior Aaron Hargett (Lake Odessa, Mich.) 19th (79.1) and sophomore Eric Doezema (Grand Rapids, Mich., pictured) 25th (80.0).

At an MIAA outing hosted by Hope at the Wuskowhan Player’s Club, Calvin had two players fire top 10 scores with Kuiper tied for sixth (73) and Hendriksma  tied for 10th (74). At the following league tournament, hosted by Calvin at the Watermark Country Club, Hendriksma and Doezema tied for sixth place with rounds of 76.

Kelli VisserWOMEN'S GOLF
Under the guidance of head coach Jerry Bergsma, the women’s golf team finished in ninth place in the final MIAA standings with a team average of 411.7 strokes-per-round. Junior Kelli Visser (Grand Rapids, Mich., pictured) was Calvin’s top finisher in the final MIAA standings, placing 23rd with an average of 93.5 strokes-per-round. Her averages ranks 13th on the all-time Calvin single-season women’s golf list. Visser had back-to-back rounds under 90 during the season, firing scores of 85 at tournaments hosted by Trine and by Calvin.

Junior Emily Tuuk (Grand Rapids, Mich.) placed 25th in the final MIAA standings, finishing with a season average of 94.8 strokes-per-round which ranks 17th on the all-time Calvin single-season list.

Freshman Kelsey Kolk (Jenison, Mich.) finished with an MIAA season average of 101.5 strokes-per-round including a round of 97 at a league tournament hosted by Adrian. Freshman Katy Berghuis (Wyoming, Mich.) had an average of 122.2 strokes-per-round in league play.

MEN'S SOCCER
With seventh-year head coach Chris Hughes at the helm, the men’s soccer team won its second straight MIAA title—its fourth in the last six years, finishing 15-5-1 overall and 12-1-1 in league play. Calvin has now won an MIAA-best 19 league championships.

Calvin opened the year with a 2-3-0 record but went 13-0-1 over its next 14 games to clinch its second straight outright MIAA crown and gain its eighth trip to the NCAA III Tournament— its fourth trip in the last five years.

Calvin cracked the national rankings in late-October and finished the season ranked…in the final Division III Top 25 poll of the year. During the season, Hughes reached a career milestone, winning his 100th game at Calvin in a 3-0 win at Adrian. The victory over Adrian also captured the outright MIAA title for the Knights.

In the NCAA III Tournament, Calvin was defeated by Carnegie-Mellon 3-0.

Calvin placed five individuals on the All-MIAA first team and three individuals on the All-MIAA second team. Leading the list of honored players was junior defensive back Greg Snapper (Madison, Wis.) who was named the MIAA’s Most Valuable Player. Snapper also earned a spot on the All-MIAA first team and was joined on the first team from Calvin by seniors Darrin Cline (Grandville, Mich.) and A.J. Dufendach (Grand Rapids, Mich.), junior Luke Holtrop (Hudsonville, Mich.) and sophomore Scott Hooker (Hudsonville, Mich.).

Named to the All-MIAA second team from Calvin were senior Dan VanSlyke (Grove City, Pa.) junior Michael Holwerda (Grand Rapids, Mich.) and sophomore Lucas Wilgenburg (Visalia, Calif.).

During the year, Cline, Wilgenburg and Snapper received MIAA Defensive Player of the Week honors while Holwerda and Dufendach received MIAA Offensive Player of the Week accolades. Holwerda was also named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District second team.

Ashley BolenWOMEN'S SOCCER
Led by eighth-year head coach Mark Recker, the women’s soccer team produced another spectacular season, recording an overall mark of 18-2-2 and capturing its fourth consecutive MIAA title. In the MIAA single round robin schedule, Calvin went 8-0-0 and then won three straight MIAA Tournament games to win its second MIAA Tournament title in three years.

Calvin was nationally ranked throughout the year and finished ….in the final Division III Top 25 poll of the year.

The 2008 season marked the 20th year of MIAA women’s soccer. At the conclusion of the 2008 season, Calvin is the winningest program in league history, recording a 190-37-8 (.820) record in league play.

In the MIAA Tournament finals, Calvin defeated Alma 3-0.  The win over Alma stretched Calvin’s MIAA unbeaten streak to 36 games dating back to the 2005 season. During that span, Calvin has gone 35-0-1 in league play. Over the last four years, Calvin’s four-year record has been 71-8-8 (.847). The Knights also allowed only one goal in league play, matching an MIAA single-season record. During the final week of the MIAA season, the entire Calvin team was listed as the MIAA Defensive Player of the Week after the Knights recorded back-to-back shutout victories in the MIAA Tournament.

In winning the MIAA tournament crown, Calvin gained its fourth consecutive bid to the NCAA III Tournament. Calvin opened NCAA III Tournament play with a 1-0 overtime victory over the College of Mount St. Joseph and then bowed out of the tournament with a shootout loss in the second round to the University of Chicago after the game had concluded in a 0-0 tie.

Calvin also placed five players on the All-MIAA first team and two players on the All-MIAA second team. Named to the All-MIAA first team from Calvin were senior Elizabeth Ribbens (Tinley Park, Ill.), juniors Allison Boender (Grandville, Mich.), Kayla Sulzer (St. Charles, Mo.) and Emily Ottenhoff (Palos Heights, Ill.) and sophomores Carly Prins (Hudsonville, Mich.). Calvin players named to the All-MIAA second team included juniors Alyssa Bergsma (Walker, Mich.) and Natalie Veurink (Spring Lake, Mich.).

In addition, senior Juliana Litts and Boender were both named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District second team.

Ashley Bolen is pictured above.

Kelsey SearsVOLLEYBALL
Led by head coach Amber Warners, the volleyball team finished 26-5 overall and in second place in the MIAA with a 14-2 conference record. The Knights also received a bid to the NCAA III Tournament for the fifth consecutive year. Warners was later named the Great Lakes Regional Coach of the Year for the second time in three years.

Despite graduating three All-Americans from its 2007 MIAA championship team, Calvin was a fixture in the Division III Top 25 rankings throughout the year and finished the season ranked 16th. During the season, Calvin recorded four victories over nationally ranked opponents including wins at (then) 10th-ranked Ohio Northern, 5th-ranked Wittenberg and 12th-ranked Hope.

The five-set victory at Hope came on October 17 in front of an NCAA III regular-season-record crowd of 2,307 fans.

Meanwhile, Calvin played its home matches inside the Huizenga Tennis and Track Center, while construction of the VanNoord Arena was completed, where the Knights compiled a 9-2 record.

In the NCAA III Tournament, Calvin was defeated by 15th-ranked Wisconsin-Whitewater 3-1 as the Knights finished the year 4-2 against Top 25 opponents.

Freshman middle-hitter Rebecca Kamp (Orland Park, Ill.) was a force for the Knights, receiving national player of the week honors twice. She was also named the MIAA’s Most Valuable Player, the Great Lakes Regional Freshman of the Year and the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) National Freshman of the Year. She was also named to the All-MIAA first team, to the Great Lakes All-Region team and to the AVCA Division III All-America first team, becoming the first freshman in Calvin women’s volleyball history to be named a first team All-American. During the year, Kamp established Calvin single-season records for kills-per-set average (4.87) and hitting percentage (.400).

Joing Kamp on the All-MIAA first team from Calvin was junior libero Kelsey Sears (Traverse City, Mich.; pictured above) who was also named the MIAA’s Defensive Player of the Year.

Named to the All-MIAA second team from Calvin were senior setter Lauren DeGroot (Tulare, Calif.) and junior middle hitter Sara Kramer (Dyer, Ind.). Sears and DeGroot also both received Great Lakes All-Region honorable mention recognition.