Amber Warners Joins 300-Win Club In Victory at Albion
Friday, October 07, 2011
(by sports information student assistant Mitch Blankespoor)
ALBION, MI – Calvin head coach Amber Warners walked into Albion College’s Kresge Gymnasium Friday evening with 299 career collegiate coaching victories. Behind the play of her top-ranked Knights, she was able to walk off with number 300 as Calvin defeated Albion in straight sets by scores of 25-8, 25-15, 25-14. A 1990 Calvin College graduate, Warners is now 300-67 as a collegiate coach which includes 10 seasons at Calvin College and one season at Hope College. Heading into the 2011 season, Warners was ranked fourth among active NCAA III women’s volleyball coaches in terms of winning percentage
Calvin got out to early leads in all three sets, and never looked back. The Knights hit a blistering .344 as a team while holding the Britons to -.094. Calvin served a team high 14 service aces. Juniors Lizzie Kamp (Chicago Christian HS) and Jen Pluymert (Grand Rapids Christian HS) led the Knights with three aces apiece.
“People don’t realize that a service error isn’t always a bad thing. At our level, a weak serve results in the ball getting pounded back into our faces. We really stress serving aggressively. We did that tonight.” Warners said after the match.
The Knights did a masterful job of spreading the ball around. Six Knights had either four or five kills. Sophomore setter Megan Rietema (Grand Rapids Christian HS) dished out 22 assists.
“Everyone got set in the front row. I thought Megan (Rietema) did a great job spreading the ball around.” Warners commented.
Lizzie Kamp and freshmen Emily Crowe (Mishawaka Penn HS) led Calvin scoring five kills apiece. Freshmen Ellie Diepersloot (Chowcilla HS) added four kills of her own. Senior Erin Vander Plas (Northern Michigan Christian HS) hit an .800 clip with four kills and a service ace.
“It is both a privilege and blessing to play for Coach Warners. She treats all of her players like daughters. It’s awesome to see her get to 300 wins. She deserves some individual recognition for everything she does.” Vander Plas reflected after the match.
Another senior to record four kills was Renee DeHaan (Grand Rapids Christian HS). She hit a .667 clip as well as recording two block assists in the match.
“It’s an honor to play under Coach Warners. She has great intentions for her players, coaching staff, and the program.” DeHaan commented.
The final senior to record four kills for Calvin was Rebecca Kamp (Chicago Christian HS). The three time All-American had two service aces and two block assists in the match.
“I have been very blessed to play for Coach Warners for the last three and a half years.” Kamp said. “I’m so proud of her for getting to 300 wins in as little time as she did.”
Senior Kelly Peterson recorded two digs in the match.
“Amber’s strength is incorporating her faith into her coaching as well as being personable to each and every player she coaches.” Peterson reflected. “ She deserves each win. I’m honored to be a part of many of those wins.”
A big part of Amber Warners’ success is Calvin assistant coach Laura Bindon. She played her senior season for Warners in 2002.
“I knew she had huge potential to lead this program great places. Her vision was great, and you could see that she had all the skills and knowledge to make that vision a reality. You couldn’t help but to buy in to it,” said Bindon who has been an assistant under Warners for the last nine years.
“I can’t believe I have been coaching with Amber for nine years,” said Bindon. “It’s been unbelievable. Her 300th career win is a tribute to the culture of hard work she has created.”
As for Amber Warners herself, she put things into perspective nicely.
“I’m extremely grateful to every player I have coached. It’s their reward. They are the ones that play. This accolade speaks volumes to the players we have had at Calvin over the past 10 years, on and off the court. It is my hope that the impact I would have on them as people is much greater than the impact I’ve had on them in their victories on the court.”
Calvin (17-0, 9-0 MIAA) will play host to the St. Mary’s College Belles Saturday at noon.