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Volleyball Survives Five Set Match Against Mount Union, WIll Meet Wittenberg in Regional Finals

Saturday, November 10, 2012

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Photo by Paul Evans, Story by Mitch Blankespoor

GRAND RAPIDS – The Calvin College volleyball team was pushed to the limit in an NCAA III second round matchup with Mount Union (Oh.).  Calvin prevailed, winning the five set thriller by scores of 25-12, 23-25, 25-21, 24-26 and 25-6.

Calvin was firing on all cylinders in the first set.  The Knights jumped out to a 15-4 lead behind a service run from senior Becca Ratkov (New Baltimore/Anchor Bay).  This forced a timeout call from Mount Union head coach Leigh Ann Swartz.  Mount Union cut Calvin’s lead to 19-10, but kills from senior Lizzie Kamp (Orland Park, IL/Chicago Christian) and Megan Rietema (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian) propelled Calvin to an easy first set victory. 

Calvin hit a blistering .424 in the first set while holding the Purple Raiders to .088.

Each of the next three sets were tight.  The second set was tied at 16, 19 and 21.  A kill by Mary Tout and a service ace by libero Kristin Gomes gave Mount Union the second set victory.

Calvin responded in set three, gained an early 13-8 lead in the third set.  Mount Union came back to tie the set at 14, but three kills from Lizzie Kamp propelled Calvin to take the third set.

The fourth set started with each team winning eight of the first 16 points.  Once again, Lizzie Kamp turned on the offense, and had six straight kills for the Knights, giving Calvin a five-point cushion.  Back-to-back kills by Tout and a service run from setter Sarah Schleich tied the set at 15 apiece.  Calvin faced three set points in a row, and won all three points, once again tying the set at 24.  The Purple Raiders won the next two points with kills form Taylor Webb, and forced a fifth set.

Calvin was not to be denied.  Two consecutive attack errors by Mount Union gave Calvin the early 2-0 lead.  Teams would trade side outs until junior Krisit Zietse stepped up to the service line with the score 8-6.  Seven points later, the match was over.

“We a came out to a great start,” said Calvin head coach Amber Warners after the match.  “Mount Union really picked up their defense and starting digging, digging and digging.”

Calvin was led by Lizzie Kamp who recorded a career-high 29 kills on 70 attack attempts.  Rietema dished out a career-high 67 assists while chipping in 15 blocks.  She along with three other Knights tallied double-digit digs for the match.  Maggie Kamp (Orland Park, IL/Chicago Christian) tallied 17 kills, two errors on 34 attempts, good for a .441 hitting percentage. 

Senior Nicole Snyder led Mount Union with 10 kills in defeat.

Calvin scored seven blocks to Mount Union’s six.  The Knights also tallied 80 total kills on the evening compared to just 47 for the Purple Raiders.

Top ranked Calvin (30-2) will face second-ranked Wittenberg (27-4) in the regional final match Saturday at 7:00 p.m.  Wittenberg defeated Hope in straight sets earlier in the day. 

This will mark the third consecutive year Calvin and Wittenberg have met in the regional finals.  Wittenberg defeated Calvin in four sets en route to its national championship a season ago.  In 2010, Calvin defeated Wittenberg in four sets en route to its national championship. 

Calvin Postmatch Audio Interview

NCAA III Volleyball Regional Website

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