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2009 fall sports recap: Five teams make NCAA tournament runs

Soccer champs

Under the direction of head coach Chris Hughes, the men’s soccer team produced the finest season in school history, advancing to the national championship game before falling to defending national champion Messiah (Pa.) 2-0 in the title tilt in San Antonio, Texas. Calvin finished the year with an overall record of 18-5-3 while capturing its third consecutive outright MIAA title with a 10-3-1 league mark.

Calvin captured the league title in dramatic fashion as it trailed rival Hope by four points in the league standings heading into the final two games of the league but responded with a 3-2 victory over Trine while Hope tied Olivet setting up a winner-take-all regular season finale between the two rivals. Calvin proceeded to defeat Hope 1-0 to finish one point ahead of the Flying Dutchmen in the final league standings.

Chris Nance after shootout winCalvin opened NCAA III Tournament play with a 2-1 first round victory at non-conference rival Wheaton (Ill.), allowing the Knights to sweep the Thunder for the first time as Calvin also defeated Wheaton 2-1 in a regular season match earlier in the year. Calvin advanced through the second round by winning a penalty-kick shootout over Wartburg (Iowa) and followed with a 2-1 third round win at Carnegie Mellon (Pa.). In the national quarterfinals, Calvin tied Transylania (Ky.) 1-1 but advanced by winning a penalty-kick shootout, giving the Knights a berth in the NCAA III Final Four in San Antonio, Texas.

At the NCAA III Final Four, Calvin defeated Dominican (Ill.) 1-0 behind a late second half goal from junior Brad Heethuis (Jenison, Mich.), setting up Calvin’s meeting against Messiah in the championship game. At the conclusion of the Final Four, senior Luke Holtrop (Hudsonville, Mich.) and juniors Lucas Wilgenburg (Visalia, Calif.) and Dan Kmetz (Strongsville, Ohio) were named to the all-tournament team.

The Knights also brought in a lengthy list of post-season awards with seniors Greg Snapper (Madison, Wis.), Holtrop, and Alex McKenzie (Lindenhurst, Ill.) and junior Dan Kmetz named to the All-MIAA first team while Wilgenburg, junior Scott Hooker (Hudsonville, Mich.) and freshman Dan Nederhoed (Kentwood, Mich.) were named to the All-MIAA second team. Snapper was also named the MIAA’s Most Valuable Player for the second straight year. In addition, senior Michael Holwerda (Grand Rapids, Mich.) was named the recipient of the MIAA’s Zuidema Award.

Calvin then had a record five individuals receive all-central region honors with Holtrop, McKenzie, Snapper and Kmetz named to the first team and Hooker named to the second team. Kmetz was then named a third team All-American by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, becoming the fifth individual in Calvin men’s soccer history to be named a Division III All-American by the NSCAA.

Finally, Snapper was named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America second team, becoming the fourth individual in Calvin men’s soccer history to receive Academic All-America honors.

Emily Ottenhof headerLed by head coach Mark Recker, the women’s soccer team captured its fifth consecutive MIAA title and earned its fifth consecutive trip to the NCAA III Tournament, reaching the national quarter- finals before falling to eventual national runner-up Washington (Mo.) University 2-1. Calvin finished the year with an overall record of 16-5-1 and a conference record of 7-1-0.

Calvin captured the league title by a three-point margin over Adrian, keyed by a late-season 1-0 win at Adrian. The regular season title gave the Knights the number-one seed for the MIAA tournament but were subsequently eliminated in the MIAA tournament semifinals in a penalty-kick shootout with Kalamazoo. Less than a week later however, Calvin received an at-large bid to the NCAA III Tournament and made good use of the opportunity, defeating Washington and Jefferson (Pa.) 4-0 in the first round and Wittenberg (Ohio) 1-0 in the second round. In a sectional-round game in Rock Island, Ill., the following weekend, Calvin upset host and fifth-ranked Augustana 2-1. The tournament trail of the Knights then came to an end the following evening with the loss to Washington University.

A wealth of Calvin players received post-season honors led by senior Emily Ottenhoff (Palos Heights, Ill., pictured above), who was named the MIAA’s Most Valuable Player. Ottenhoff was also named to the All-MIAA first team along with senior Allison Boender (Grandville, Mich.) and junior Carly Prins (Hudsonville, Mich.). Junior Kellie Honderd (Hudsonville, Mich.) was also named to the All-MIAA second team.

Ottenhoff, Prins and Boender were then named to the All-Central Region first team. Shortly after, Ottenhoff was named a second team All-American by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, becoming the fourth player in Calvin women’s soccer history to be named a Division III All-American by the NSCAA. Finally, Boender was named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America third team, becoming the second individual in Calvin women’s soccer history to be named an Academic All-American.

Alex WrobelUnder the direction of head coach Brian Diemer, the men’s cross country team captured its 23rd consecutive MIAA title, its 14th straight Great Lakes Regional crown and appeared at the NCAA III Champion-ships for the 17th straight year. Calvin placed 13th at the NCAA III Championships with a team score of 385 points.

Calvin took first place at both the MIAA jamboree and MIAA Championships, scoring 21 points at the MIAA jamboree and a perfect score of 15 points at the MIAA Championships. Sophomore Nick Kramer (Dyer, Ind.) took first place in both races and for his efforts, was named the MIAA’s Most Valuable Runner. Kramer was also named to the All-MIAA first team and was joined on the first team from Calvin by seniors Aaron Goodman (Milwaukee, Wis.), George Visser (Winfield, Ill.) and Kyle Mast (Zeeland, Mich.), junior Alex Wrobel (Arden Hill, Minn.), sophomore Dan Kerr (Petoskey, Mich.) and freshman Matt VanderRoest (Ann Arbor, Mich.).

At the Great Lakes Regional held in Terre Haute, Ind., Calvin produced a first-place score of 73 points led by Kramer, who took first place individually to not only earn a spot on the Great Lakes All-Region team but also receive Great Lakes Regional Athlete of the Year honors. Kramer was joined on the Great Lakes All-Region team by VanderRoest, Visser, Goodman, senior Ben Van Wyk (Sussex, N.J.) and Wrobel. Diemer was also named Great Lakes Regional Men’s Coach of the Year.

At the NCAA III Championships the following weekend in Cleveland, Ohio, Calvin was led by Kramer and Vander Roest with Kramer finishing 49th individually and VanderRoest 51st.

Gretchen BraymerThe women’s cross country team was also led by Diemer and captured its fifth consecutive MIAA title; its 21st overall. The Knights also won their third straight Great Lakes Regional crown and then took third at the NCAA III Championships.

Ranked number one in the national polls for the final seven weeks of the year, Calvin took first place at the MIAA jamboree and at the MIAA Championships with perfect scores of 15 points. Senior Jessica Koster (Grand Rapids, Mich.) took first place at both races and was named the MIAA’s Most Valuable Runner and landed a spot on the All-MIAA first team for the third straight year. Seniors Liz Smit (Kirkland, Wash.) and Jesi Hale (Rehoboth, N.M.) were also named to the All-MIAA first team for the third straight year while junior Gretchen Braymer (Erie, Pa.) and sophomores Jodi Hoekstra (Homer Glen, Ill.) and Rebecca Hiemstra (Dusseldorf, Germany) were so honored for the first time. Junior Alison Tuuk (Grand Rapids, Mich.) was named to the All-MIAA second team.

At the Great Lakes Regional meet, Calvin took first place with a team score of 50 points. Calvin’s top finisher was senior Lauren Bergstrom (Rochester, Minn.) who placed fifth. Bergstrom earned a spot on the Great Lakes All-Region team and was joined on the team from Calvin by Hale, Koster, Smit, senior Sarah Dugan (Freeland, Mich.), Hoekstra and Braymer. Diemer was also named the Great Lakes Regional Women’s Coach of the Year.

At the NCAA III Championships, Calvin produced a third-place team score of 195 points, finishing 24 points out of first place. Koster was Calvin’s top finisher, earning All-America honors with a 34th place finish. Hale just missed an All-America (top 35) berth, finishing 36th.

Eric DoezemaUnder the guidance of head coach Brian Bolt, the men’s golf team finished tied for second in the final MIAA standings, an improvement of three spots over its 2008 league finish. Calvin finished in a three-way tie for second place with Albion and Trine.

Senior Jon Kuiper (Grand Rapids, Mich.) led Calvin with a season average of 74.0 strokes per round in league play, finishing just two strokes out of first place. Kuiper’s average broke the previous Calvin school record of 75.9 strokes per round established by Jeff TenBrink in 2005. By finishing second, Kuiper earned a spot on the All-MIAA first team.

Junior Jess Hendriksma (Grand Rapids, Mich.) earned a spot on the All-MIAA second team, finishing 10th in the final league standings (75.9). Also finishing in the final MIAA top 25 were freshman Dave Sarkipato (Kalamazoo, Mich.) in 14th (77.1) and freshman Ben Rietema (Grand Rapids, Mich.) in 24th (79.1).

A highlight of the season came in early October when the Knights took first at an MIAA jamboree hosted by Calvin firing a course record score of 305 led by 71 from Hendriksma, a 72 from Jon Kuiper, a 75 by junior Eric Doezema (Grand Rapids, Mich.) and rounds of 76 from Ben Kuiper and Sarkipato.

Kelli VisserThe women’s golf team, led by head coach Jerry Bergsma, finished fifth in the final league standings, an improvement of four places from the year before. Calvin’s top individual was senior Emily Tuuk (Grand Rapids, Mich.) who averaged 89.8 strokes per round to finish 19th in the final league standings. Tuuk’s average was also the fourth-best single-season average in Calvin women’s golf history.

Senior Kelli Visser (Grand Rapids, Mich.) also cracked the top 25 with a 23rd-place finish (92.6) while senior Julienne Louters (Grand Rapids, Mich.) was 26th (95.0). Freshman Elise Doezema was 28th with an average of 96.0 strokes per round. A highlight for the Knights came in late September when the Knights captured the Alma Invitational with a season-best score of 343 strokes. Calvin had four golfers fire rounds under 90 led by Visser who carded a season-best score of 84, which was good for third place individually. Tuuk and Doezema were right behind with rounds of 86 while Louters had an 87 and senior Rachel Strikwerda (Holland, Mich.) a career-best round of 92.

Led by head coach Amber Warners, the women’s volleyball team finished 28-7 overall and in second place in the final MIAA regular season standings. The Knights also captured their fifth consecutive MIAA tournament title and earned a bid to the NCAA III Tournament for the fifth straight year.

VolleyballCalvin faced rival Hope four times during the season, including a regular season meeting at Calvin’s Van Noord Arena in front of an NCAA III regular-season record crowd of 2,725 fans (pictured below). In the match Hope defeated Calvin in five sets but less than two weeks later, Calvin came back to upset the Flying Dutch in four sets in Holland in the MIAA tournament championship final. In NCAA III Tournament play, Calvin defeated Wittenberg in three sets in a first-round match but then fell to Hope in three sets in the second round with Hope advancing to the NCAA III Final Four.

Calvin featured a sister tandem in sophomore Rebecca and freshman Lizzie Kamp of Orland Park, Ill. A middle hitter, Rebecca was named to the All-MIAA first team, the Great Lakes All-Region team and to the American Volleyball Coaches Association All-America first team for the second straight year. Outside hitter Lizzie Kamp was named to the Great Lakes All-Region team and was named the Great Lakes Regional Freshman of the Year.
She also received honorable mention All-America honors from the AVCA.

Senior libero Kelsey Sears (Traverse City, Mich.) was named to the All-MIAA first team for the second straight year. She also was named to the Great Lakes All-Region team and was then named a third team All-American by the AVCA.

Sophomores Renee DeHaan (Grand Rapids, Mich.) and Erin VanderPlas (Cadillac, Mich.) were named to the All-MIAA second team. In addition, Rebecca Kamp was named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America first team, becoming the first Calvin volleyball player to be named an Academic All-American.

In the final NCAA III statistics, senior setter Nora Bruskewitz (Milwaukee, Wis.) finished eighth in assists per set (10.78). Rebecca Kamp and DeHaan also ranked high in blocks per set with Kamp ranked 12th (1.22) and DeHaan 24th (1.1). As a team, Calvin finished fourth in blocks per set (2.52) and seventh in hitting percentage (.273).

Volleyball record-breaking crowd