Volleyball Defeats Saint Mary’s 3-0, Wins MIAA Title Outright
Friday, October 26, 2012
GRAND RAPIDS – The Calvin College volleyball team won the MIAA Conference Championship outright Friday evening defeating the Saint Mary’s Belles in straight sets by scores of 25-10, 25-20, 25-16.
Calvin, ranked second in the country in the most recent AVCA Division III Poll, came out of the gates hot. Senior Kelly Gordon (Caledonia/South Christian) served four straight times, giving the Knights the early lead. Senior Rebecca Ratkov (New Baltimore/Anchor Bay) had three kills of Calvin’s first four kills, pulling the Knights in front 8-1. This forced a timeout call from Saint Mary’s head coach Toni Kuschel.
The Belles would cut Calvin’s lead to four, but could get no closer. A long service run from senior defensive specialist Jen Pluymert (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian) gave Calvin a 21-7 advantage. The Knights coasted to a first set victory.
Calvin hit a blistering .455 clip in set one, while holding Saint Mary’s to -.061.
The Belles hung with the second-ranked Knights in the second set. Saint Mary’s took its biggest lead of the evening at 6-3 in the second set. Two more kills from Ratkov and three attack errors from the Belles gave Calvin back the lead. Saint Mary’s would get within a single point, and 20-19, but two kills from sophomore Emily Crowe (Granger, IN/Mishawaka Penn) gave Calvin the second set victory.
Calvin took a 9-4 lead in set three behind three straight service aces from senior Lizzie Kamp (Orland Park, IL/Chicago Christian). Saint Mary’s got within two points, but could not equalize. Calvin won the match-clinching third set, and secured the top seed in the MIAA Tournament which starts Friday, November 2nd.
Calvin hit .330 as a team while holding Saint Mary’s to a mere .074. Calvin tallied seven blocks with Ratkov leading the way individually with four block assists.
Saint Mary’s freshmen outside hitter Kati Schneider led everyone with 12 kills. Lizzie Kamp and Maggie Kamp had 11 and 10 kills respectively for Calvin. Emily Crowe had nine. Junior setter Megan Rietema (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian) dished out 41 assists. Jen Pluymert led the Knights with 12 digs.
“I was happy we stayed consistent throughout the whole match,” Calvin head coach Amber Warners said. “Saint Mary’s is a very scrappy team defensively. They made us work hard for every point.”
With the win, the Knights captured the MIAA Championship outright for the second straight year. Calvin heads into its final regular season game against Albion Saturday. The Knights bring with them a 35-match MIAA winning streak. The matchup at Albion is slated to start at 3 p.m.