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2010-2011 winter sports recap: Women's hoops and swimming and diving claim MIAA titles
Swimming & Diving: Women's | Men's ~ Basketball: Women's | Men's

Led by head coach John Ross, the women’s basketball team had a breakthrough year, capturing a share of its first MIAA regular season title since 2007, capturing its first MIAA tournament title since 2005 and advancing to the NCAA III Tournament for the second straight year. Calvin finished 25-5 overall, matching the second-highest single-season win total in program history while sharing the MIAA regular season title with Hope at 15-1 in league play. In mid-January, Calvin snapped an eight-game losing streak against Hope, upsetting the (then) number-one ranked Flying Dutch 56-55 at Calvin’s Van Noord Arena. Hope later defeated Calvin 70-48 in the return meeting at Hope but Calvin later won a coin flip to host the MIAA tournament. Calvin then used its homecourt advantage in the MIAA tournament, defeating Kalamazoo in the first round, Albion in the semifinals and then topping Hope once again, this time by a 67-65 score with junior Jill Thomas (Grand Rapids, Mich.) connecting on a three-point shot at the buzzer to lift the Knights to the win.

Calvin later hosted a regional, defeating La Roche College (Pittsburg, Pa.) 73-37 in the first round before falling to the University of Chicago 67-62 in the second round.

Carissa VerkaikDuring the year, sophomore center Carissa Verkaik (Holland, Mich.) became the fastest player in Calvin women’s basketball history to reach 1,000 points, doing so in Calvin’s MIAA regular season finale at Trine. Heading into the 2011-12 season, she is 10th (1,121 points) on the Calvin career scoring list and sixth on the Calvin career rebounding list (557). Verkaik also blocked 123 shots during the season, missing the Calvin single-season record by just two. She was named the MIAA’s Most Valuable Player for the second straight year and was named to the All-MIAA first team for a second straight season. She was joined on the All-MIAA first team by sophomore Ally Wolffis (Muskegon, Mich.). Verkaik also earned a prestigious academic accolade during the year as she was named to the Capital One Academic All-District second team by the College Sports Information Director’s Association.

As a team, Calvin was ranked in the top 10 of the final NCAA III statistics in defensive field goal percentage and blocked shots. Verkaik was also ranked in the top 10 of the NCAA III statistics individually in free throw percentage (.867), field goal percentage (.596) and blocked shots per-game (4.1).

Tom SnikkersUnder the direction of head coach Kevin Vande Streek, the men’s basketball team finished 16-12 overall and in second place in the final MIAA regular season standings. The Knights also reached the MIAA tournament finals for the eighth consecutive year, falling to rival Hope 72-67 in the title tilt. By finishing 16-12, Calvin reached the 15-win plateau for the 27th consecutive year. An early season highlight came at the Grand Rapids Sports Hall of Fame Classic as the Knights captured the tournament title for the first time since 2000, defeating Aquinas 61-44 in the first round and then topping Cornerstone 81-76 in the championship game. Sophomore Tom Snikkers (Jenison, Mich.) was named the the Tournament’s Most Valuable Player and was joined on the all-tournament team by Calvin senior Brent Schuster (Denver, Colo.).

A mid-season highlight came in Calvin’s MIAA opener as the Knights recorded a 95-81 victory at rival Hope, allowing head coach Kevin Vande Streek to improve to 15-0 in MIAA openers.

Calvin gained sole possession of second place in the final MIAA regular season standings with a 51-45 victory at Albion in the MIAA regular season finale for both teams. Calvin then defeated Trine in a first round MIAA tournament game and Albion in the MIAA tournament semifinals before falling to Hope in the championship game. Snikkers was later named to the All-MIAA first team after finishing sixth in the MIAA in scoring average and second in rebounding average. Senior Danny Rodts (Niles, Mich.) was named to the All-MIAA second team.

Freshman Jordan Brink (Dyer, Ind.) established a new Calvin single-season record for free throw percentage, connecting on 92.9 percent (52-of-56) of his free throw attempts, breaking the old record of 92.0 percent.

ElizabethThe women’s swimming and diving team led by Dan Gelderloos, captured its seventh consecutive MIAA title—its ninth overall. The Knights were 6-3 in dual meet competition and 6-0 against MIAA competition. At the MIAA championships, Calvin took first place with a team score of 850 points. At the meet, Calvin took first place in seven individual events and in two relays. Three individuals combined for Calvin’s seven individual MIAA titles as senior Monica Bressler (Sandusky, Ohio) repeated as league champion in the 100 backstroke (59.04) and 200 backstroke (2:09.02); sophomore Samantha Klaasen (Holland, Mich.) won the diving competition on the one-meter (432.95) and three-meter (414.60) boards and sophomore Elizabeth Counsell (Indianapolis, Ind.) won the 200 IM (2:10.99), 100 breaststroke (1:04.18) and 200 breaststroke (2:19.74). Her time in the 200 breaststroke was a new Calvin and MIAA record time. Calvin also claimed first place in the 400-medley relay and 400-freestyle relay. Calvin’s 400-medley relay consisted of Bressler, Counsell, senior Caitlin Alexander (Holland, Mich.) and sophomore Stephanie Fox (Kentwood, Mich.). Calvin’s 400- freestyle relay included Bressler, sophomore Rachel Colasurdo (Chesapeake, Va.), freshman Maria Sedjo (Chicago, Ill.) and Fox.

In the diving competition, Calvin went 1-2-3 on both the one and three-meter boards; Klaasen led the way with victories on both boards. Senior Carmen Brummel (West Olive, Mich.) was second on the three-meter board (380.15) while freshman Elise Kaufman (Sugarland, Texas) was third (364.25). In the one-meter competition, Kaufman took second (388.60) and Brummel third (360.35).

For her efforts at the conference meet, Counsell was named the MIAA’s Most Valuable Swimmer, becoming the fifth individual in Calvin women’s swimming history to receive the award. Meanwhile, Klaasen was named the MIAA’s Most Valuable Diver, joining Erica Deur as one of two individuals in Calvin history to be so honored.

Selected to the All-MIAA team from Calvin were Bressler, Fox, Cloyd, Counsell, Klaasen and Kaufman, with Bressler receiving All-MIAA honors for the third time and Counsell for the second time. Calvin then sent two individuals to the NCAA III Championships in Knoxville, Tenn., with Counsell competing in the 100 and 200 breaststroke and in the 200 IM while Kaufman qualified on both the oneand three-meter diving boards.

JohnsonLed by head coach Dan Gelderloos, the men’s swimming and diving team placed fourth in the final MIAA standings, as the Knights were fourth at the MIAA championships with a team score of 486 points, marking a 58-point improvement upon its score from the 2010 MIAA championships. Calvin was led at the MIAA championships by freshman diver Andy Krafft (Fort Wayne, Ind.) who captured league titles on both the one-meter (511.45) and three-meter (513.15) boards, becoming the first individual in Calvin men’s diving history to accomplish the feat since Dirk Pruis did so in 1982. For his efforts, Krafft was named the MIAA’s Most Valuable Diver, becoming the first individual in Calvin men’s diving history to receive the award. He also earned a spot on the All-MIAA team and was joined on the honor squad by sophomore teammate Stephen Kraft (Warsaw, Ind.). At the MIAA Championships, Stephen Kraft was third in the 200 IM (1:56.52) and 400 IM (4:14.59) and fifth in the 200 breaststroke (2:10.43).

Junior Ross Battoclette (Cincinnati, Ohio) also competed solidly at the MIAA championships, placing fourth in the 500 freestyle (4:44.38), sixth in the 200 freestyle (1:43.66) and eighth in the 100 freestyle (47.70). Sophomore Mark Rushlow (Goshen, Ind.) had a second place finish in the 100 butterfly (50.83) while junior Greg Gorham (Richfield, Minn.) was fifth in the 100 breaststroke (58.73). In the morning prelims, Gorham broke his own school record in the event with a time of 58.57.

During the dual meet portion of the season, Calvin posted a 2-6 record with an early season highlight coming in a 149-144 victory at Wheaton College. In addition, Andy Krafft qualified for the NCAA III Championships in Knoxville, Tenn., competing on both the one and three meter diving boards.