Return to the Calvin homepage Return to the Knightfile homepage  
All things


Like mother, like daughter
By Jeff Febus

Kaitlin SpoelhofIt took nearly three decades and another Spoelhof to do it, but the Calvin women's tennis team is once again tops in the MIAA. After helping lead the Calvin women’s tennis team to its last MIAA title, Jan Boerema Spoelhof ’84 was able to watch her daughter Kaitlin Spoelhof do the same this spring as the Knights swept through the MIAA regular season undefeated and then captured the MIAA tournament title to gain its first bid to the NCAA III Tournament.

A key figure at No. 2 singles and No. 1 doubles for the Calvin women’s tennis team this season, Kaitlin Spoelhof was 15-8 in singles play and 17-7 in doubles— en route to landing a spot on the All-MIAA first team for the second straight year.

Calvin wrapped up the MIAA tournament title with a 6-3 win over rival Hope in the championship final. Spoelhof was on top of her game in the final, recording a 6-1, 6-2 win at No. 2 singles and teaming up with Melissa Oosterhouse for a 8-3 win at No. 1 doubles.

The victory was as exciting for Jan Spoelhof as it was for her daughter. “It was extremely exciting to watch the team win, both as a parent and as a tennis alum,” said Jan Spoelhof at the conclusion of the MIAA tournament. “The thing that is most exciting is how tight-knit the team and the group of parents have been. We have all developed great friendships and great relationships. It has just been a thrill.”

A two-time first team All-MIAA selection herself, Jan Spoelhof is married to fellow Calvin graduate Scott Spoelhof ’84, who is one of several siblings to have attended and graduated from Calvin.

The long family tree did not dissuade Kaitlin from attending Calvin herself when the time to choose a college came around as a senior at Holland Christian High School. “My parents let me make my college decision all on my own,” said Spoelhof. “I was considering two different schools that were entirely different but in the end, I chose Calvin and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”

According to Kaitlin, she made the choice for the right reasons: “I love Calvin not because the members of my family went there,” she said. “I love it because of the people I have met, the wonderful teachers I have had and the way my relationship with God has grown while I have been here.”

As for tennis, Spoelhof picked up the game at a young age but was never pressured into the sport. “I was probably only three or four when I picked up a racket, but my parents never pressured me to play,” she said. “Both of my parents always kept tennis in the proper perspective for me. I never felt burned out and maintained a love for the game. That is why I am still playing today at the college level.”

A two-time member of the MIAA Academic Honor Roll, Spoelhof is a nursing major with a minor in business.

As a tennis player, Spoelhof has been part of a women’s tennis program building for an MIAA title during her three years on the team. As a freshman in 2008, the Knights finished second in the league standings and lost a narrow 5-4 decision to Albion in the MIAA tournament finals. In 2009, Calvin again finished second in the league and then dropped a 5-4 match to Hope in the tournament finals.

This year proved to be different however. “This year it felt like it was our turn,” said Spoelhof. “It was really sweet. Last year wasn’t our turn. This year we won because we played our best and deserved to win.”