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Calvin Volleyball Goes Cliche’ in MIAA Tournament Championship Victory Over Hope

Saturday, November 07, 2009

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Box Score

By Calvin Sports information Student Assistant Andrew Knot

In its first two meetings, Calvin dropped matches to archrival Hope in the MIAA regular season.  At Hope’s DeVos Fieldhouse, the Dutch swept the Knights in three sets.  At the return trip in Calvin’s VanNoord Arena, Calvin dropped the match in five sets, disappointingly dropping the final two sets. 

On Saturday, November 7, the two met in the MIAA championship, with Calvin plagued with injury and sickness the Knights beat the odds and upset the Flying Dutch, who were previously ranked #5 in the country. 

The third time’s a charm.

Calvin’s star middle hitter Rebecca Kamp wasn’t 100% because of an injury.  Defensive specialists Jen Pluymert and Kelli Peterson were both sidelined, Pluymert with sickness and Peterson recovering from an injury. 

Hope entered the championship final with a 30-2 record, as well as a perfect 16-0 mark in regular season conference play.  Calvin was 26-6. 
Throw out the records in rivalry games.

Calvin dropped the first set, losing 25-15 in a disheartening performance.  In the first set, the Knights were dominated at the net and trailed 9-1 at one point.

It’s never over ‘til it’s over. 

“Everyone stepped up.  Our seniors were unwilling to let our season end.  We’ve waited two and a half months for this desire, fight, and heart,” said Coach Amber Warners. 

It’s all about heart.

But this game was more than any trite, overused expression.  The Knights entered the match with the odds against them and triumphed over their archrival.
Calvin responded to what looked to be a heartbreaking loss in the first set with a 25-23 victory in the second set, with a Lizzie Kamp roll shot sealing the victory for the Knights.
In the third set, Calvin found themselves in an early deficit.  Trailing 21-14, Calvin crept back into the set, until Hope responded by staking a 23-20 lead.  Calvin then battled back, scoring five unanswered points in to steal the pivotal third set.  Calvin fought back with Katie Corbett making defensive plays from her knees; Erin VanderPlas crushing a huge kill, a monster double block, and a Renee DeHaan tip kill.

Calvin had been here before.  They let a 2-1 set lead slip in their last clash with Hope.  This time, something was different.

“We have to play every point every day,” said senior Kelsey Sears. 

Sears’ attitude was reflected in her team, who came out with a will to win in the fourth and final set. 

“It was great to see us not be satisfied after the third set.  We kept fighting until it was all done,” added Coach Warners. 

With an increased air of confidence the Knights took the court in the fourth set, determined to finish the match.  Calvin came out of the gate strong, taking an early 12-4 lead, forcing a Hope timeout.

Despite a few minor runs from the Dutch, Calvin stepped up.  Every aspect of team harmonized, resulting in a Calvin masterpiece to the tune of a 25-13 victory. 

Thunderous kills from the Kamp sisters created Calvin’s winning margin, Kelsey Sears’ diving one handed dig preserved Calvin’s lead, and Nora Bruskewitz’s distribution kept the Calvin offense clicking. 
When Hope’s final attack skipped off the top of the net and out of bounds, no cliché could say it. 

Only one thing could: MIAA Tournament Champions.

“We are right where we want to be.  We are peaking at the right time,” said Sears.

The Knights now enter the NCAA III tournament via the MIAA tournament championship automatic bid. 

“To pull this off against our rival in their court ranks way up there,” said Warners. 

No matter how you say it, Calvin’s MIAA tournament championship was more than a cliché. 

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