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Calvin takes round one from Hope in volleyball showdown

Friday, September 21, 2012

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Box Score

(Photo by Paul Evans)
Story by Mitch Blankespoor

By Mitch Blankespoor

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – In a highly anticipated matchup of two of the nation’s top five teams, fourth ranked Hope College traveled to Van Noord Arena to take on second ranked Calvin College.  The Knights, despite losing the first set, defeated the Flying Dutch 3-1 by scores of 24-26, 25-15, 25-23, 25-21. 

Calvin won the first three points of set number one, only to see Hope roar back to take the lead 7-5 on a kill from senior Nicole George (Hamilton/Hamilton).  The rivals then traded side outs until kills from Calvin’s Emily Crowe (Granger, IN/Mishawaka Penn) and Lizzie Kamp (Orland Park, IL/Chicago Christian HS) gave Calvin the lead 14-11.  This forced Hope head coach Becky Schmidt to call timeout. 

Hope responded nicely to its coach, and went on a 12-9 run to tie the set at 23 apiece.  From there, Jenna Grasmeyer (Hudsonville/Unity Christian) took over.  Three straight kills from the sophomore earned Hope a set one victory 26-24. 

Hope had 21 kills on 51 attempts in the first set, good enough for a .314 clip.  Calvin had 17 kills, and hit just a .241 clip.

“Our block did a nice job of setting up against Calvin’s hitters, especially in the first set,” Schmidt said.

Calvin started the second set on fire.  The Knights jumped out to an 11-7 lead, forcing another timeout call from Hope.  This time around, Calvin would not let Hope back into the set.  The Knights, using a balanced attack, went on the win the second set handily 25-15. 

Calvin hit a blistering .444 in the second set, while holding Hope to just .226.

The third set saw the Flying Dutch take the early lead using kills from Grasmeyer and Jillian Sommerville (Plymouth/Salem).  Calvin junior Kristi Zietse (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian) served three consecutive points, giving the Knights the lead 10-7.  The Flying Dutch showed resilience, getting within a single point four different times.  Calvin stood tall, and took the third set 25-23. 

With their backs against the wall, Hope jumped out to a 6-2 lead in the fourth set, forcing Calvin head coach Amber Warners to call timeout.  Zietse stepped to the service line with Calvin down 12-10.  Once again, the junior served five straight times, vaulting Calvin into the lead.  Hope failed to regain the lead, and Calvin won the set 25-21. 

“I was really proud of how we came out and played steady the whole night,” Warners said.  “We had a couple of mistakes that hurt us in the first set, but we did not let that affect us mentally.”

Calvin hit .277 for the match.  Hope hit a .215 clip. 

“Calvin’s offense was pretty potent tonight,” Schmidt said after the match.  “They mixed up their shots which made it difficult for our defense to get in a rhythm.”

This Calvin offense Schmidt speaks of was led by Lizzie Kamp with 24 kills on 59 attempts.  Freshmen Maggie Kamp (Orland Park, IN/Chicago Christian) and sophomore Emily Crowe (Granger, IN/Mishawaka Penn) added 11 and 10 kills respectively.

“I knew their [Hope’s] block would be tough,” Kamp said.  “Hope plays such great defense, I had to mix it up to be effective.”

The Flying Dutch block was tough indeed.  Hope outblocked Calvin, for the first time since 2010, 11-6.5. 

Jenna Grasmeyer led the Hope offense, recording 21 kills on 56 attempts. Nicole Goerge and Anna Lynch (Lake Odessa/Lakewood) added 13 and 11 kills respectively.

“We came out strong in the first game,” Grasmeyer said.  “We just couldn’t quite keep up the high level of play.”

Calvin held a slight advantage in digs scoring 73 to Hope’s 67.  A trio of defensive specialists led the way for Calvin.  Kelly Gordon (Caledonia/South Christian), Jen Pluymert (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian) and Kristi Zietse recorded 18, 16 and nine digs respectively.  Hope senior libero Jessica Maier (Grandville/Jenison) had 17 digs. 

“We passed really well tonight and we able to stay in system” Warners said.  “When we get the passing, we can do a whole lot.”

Both setters put on display the art of passing.  Calvin junior setter Megan Rietema Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian) dished out 58 assists.  Hope senior setter Greer Bratschie (Grand Rapids/East Grand Rapids) had 54 assists.

“The back row was on their game tonight,” Rietema said.  “Because of the great passing from the back row, we were able to spread the ball around to either side.”

Both teams will face Trine next match.  Calvin (12-1, 5-0 MIAA) travels to Trine Saturday.  Hope (13-2, 5-1 MIAA) will face the Thunder Wednesday.

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