Amber Warners to Lead AVCA Volleyball Team to Costa Rica
Friday, July 19, 2013
Calvin head volleyball coach Amber Warners is no stranger to traveling abroad. Next week however will provide a new adventure for the veteran coach as she will lead a group of nine players for a week of competition, service projects and instructional clinics in Costa Rica.
Earlier this year, Warners was tabbed as the head coach of a team of nine volleyball players who received AVCA Division II or Division III All-America honors this past year.
The trip is a combined venture between the AVCA and Athletes-International. Any player that was named an AVCA Division II or III All-American in 2012 was eligible to participate with athletes responsible for raising funds for their own travel expenses.
The group of nine that will make up the team coached by Warners includes Calvin senior setter Megan Rietema and recently graduated Hope College setter Greer Bratschie. Rietema was a first team AVCA Division III All-American last fall while Bratschie ws a third team selection. Both players are not only from West Michigan but also from southeast Grand Rapids as Rietema is a graduate of Grand Rapids Christian High School and Bratschie a graduate of East Grand Rapids High School.
“It’s really a unique and wonderful situation to have two outstanding setters that I am quite familiar with,” said Warners who was a three-time All-MIAA setter from 1986-to-1989 including the MIAA’s MVP in 1988 and 1989. “I think it’s also great to have two players who have been on both sides of what we think is the great Division III sports rivalry in Calvin and Hope as well as two players who are from West Michigan.”
Warners will meet her team later this weekend in Miami, Florida. From there, the group will fly to Costa Rica and begin a busy itinerary of events that will include four matches against international competition, three service projects and an all-day volleyball clinic.
“I have no idea what to expect during this trip but I am greatly honored to be a part of it,” said Warners. “We will hit the ground running once we get to Costa Rica. We haven’t had a chance to practice as a team and I’m not sure we will get a chance to even do so before our first match.”
As a Calvin volleyball player, Warners participated in an Athletes-in-Action ministry tour through the Philippines and Japan. As the daughter of noted Hope College biology professor Harvey Blankespoor, she also made several trips to the Galapagos Islands with her family. As a Calvin professor, she has led students to New Zealand, Australia and Africa. She has also partnered with her brother Curt Blankespoor to lead Calvin students throughout the United States during the month of January in two of the last three years in a course entitled: “The Calvin College Amazing Race.”
A native of Holland (Holland Christian High School), Warners has garnered AVCA Division III National Coach of the Year honors twice in the last three years. In 11 years as a collegiate head volleyball coach at Calvin, she has compiled an impressive won-loss record of 328-60 which includes a national title in 2010 and a national runner-up berth in 2012. In 12 years as a collegiate head coach overall, she is 349-71. Warners also served as the interim head coach at Hope in 1994.
AVCA ALL-AMERICAN COSTA RICA TEAM ROSTER
Audrey Kraject, MH, Millikin University
Megan Rietema, S, Calvin College
Greer Bratschie, S, Hope College
Kearby Benak, OH/DS, Eastern University
Aishvina Arasu, OH, Clarkson University
Victoria Maher, MH, Georgetown College
Anna Hilton, RS, Wingate University
Krista Haslag, MH, Missouri S & T
Lauren Beville, LB, West Texas A & M