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Knight’s Volleyball Team Helps Out Community in St. Louis - Attends Championships Banquet

Thursday, November 18, 2010

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Erin Vander Plas / Kim Wigboldy Championships Banquet Speech

By Sports Information Student Assistant Mitch Blankespoor

ST. LOUIS, MO - The Calvin College women’s volleyball team has succeeded on the court this season.  They won a share of the MIAA conference championship for the first time since 2008.  They have reached the Elite Eight for the first time since 1992 with a stunning upset victory over 2nd ranked Wittenberg University at Wittenberg’s Pam Evan’s Smith Arena last week Saturday.  The Knight’s have not only succeeded on the court this year.  On Thursday afternoon, Calvin went to a crisis care nursery center in St. Louis to spend time with the kids there. The event was set up by the NCAA as part of its community service outreach program at NCAA Championship events.

The first part of the time spent there was getting to know the kids.  They were so longing for attention, and the Knights gave just that.  Calvin senior setter Carolyn Nelson had a young child attached to her basically the whole time.  She spoke about the day.

“We got up and had a great breakfast.  It was really interesting to see the different teams there because we are not familiar with them.  We had a little bit of downtime in the hotel, and then we went straight to the gym.  We got a tour of the facility, which are awesome.  We saw the sport court, and got really excited to get in the gym again.  After practice, we had just enough time to squeeze in some lunch before heading to the nursery.  It was an awesome day playing with the kids.” (Calvin Team Practicing at Washington University)

The crisis center is a chain of relief centers that started in St. Louis over 25 years ago.  They normally take in children for one or two days when their parents cannot or do not have time to care for them.  They served over 7,000 children last year between the five different locations.  The particular location Calvin was at could house 14 children at a time.  There is often a huge waiting list.  To ensure safety, there is at least one caretaker up all 24 hours of the day.

“The best thing about this care center is the kids just running around having a great time.  Seeing the smiles of there faces and knowing that they are in a face place is really comforting” sophomore Kim Start said.

There were other things that needed to be done other than keeping the kids entertained.  Folding laundry, cleaning up after the children, and keeping the building in good shape just name a few.

The children were wild.  Senior Kayla Hollenbeck had a great time.

“Today we got to go to a kid’s nursery and spend time and play with the kids.  We took turns playing with the kids and organizing clothes upstairs.  It was really fun just getting to know the kids.  They had a fun zipping up our jackets and pulling down our hoods.  It was a great time.” (at Championships Banquet)

Later Thursday night, the team attended a championships banquet in downtown St. Louis where senior Kim Wigboldy and junior Erin Vander Plas gave a speech on behalf of the team. In addition, junior Rebecca Kamp was honored as an AVCA first team All-American while freshman Megan Rietema was presented with the AVCA Division III National Freshman of the Year Award.

Calvin opens up play against the University of Massachusetts at Boston on Friday at 3pm Central Standard Time.

Erin Vander Plas / Kim Wigboldy Championships Banquet Speech

NCAA III Championships Photo Gallery

Posted in: Volleyball
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