Volleyball Team Wraps Up MIAA Regular Season Title and top Seed for MIAA Tournament With Win at Hope
Friday, October 28, 2011
By sports information student assistant Andrew Knot
The Knights completed a regular season sweet of archrival Hope on Friday night with a four set victory: 22-25, 25-16, 25-20, 26-24. With the win, Calvin wraps up its 18th MIAA regular season title, its fourth under current head coach Amber Warners and its first outright league title since 2007. In addition, Calvin clinches the top seed for the four-team MIAA Tournament next Friday and Saturday and will host the semifinals and final at Calvin’s Van Noord Arena.
Calvin faced immediate pressure when Hope opened the first set on an 8-3 run. Freshman Jenna Grasmeyer had her way on the outside and senior Lindy Melville picked apart the Knights’ back row in the set’s opening stages. The Knights were able to cut the lead to 9-7 when Julia Hilbrands and Renee DeHaan teamed up on a combo block, but Hope later extended its lead to 17-11. From there, the Dutch would advance to take the first set 25-22.
Calvin bounced back in the second set with its own 8-3 run. Erin VanderPlas opened the set with one of her 11 kills and Rebecca Kamp followed that up soon after. Later in the set, Hilbrands set VanderPlas to keep the Knights on top 10-5. Jen Pluymert then spurred the Knights on a service run that took the score to 17-8 and forced Hope coach Becky Schmidt to call a timeout. Calvin responded to the timeout in the form of a Rebecca Kamp cross court kill off a slide. While serving in the set’s late stages, Kristi Zietse kept the Knights alive with a magnificent dig that VanderPlas put down. Calvin put the set away on a slide to DeHaan, which left the second set at 25-16.
The pivotal third set proved to sway the game Calvin’s direction. Lizzie Kamp put down a Hope overpass early in the set to put the Knights on top 12-4, but Hope responded with a pair of monster blocks to cut the Calvin lead to four and force a timeout from Calvin’s coach Amber Warners. Out of the timeout, both squads exercised defensive grit, resulting in a string of lengthy rallies and the Dutch cut Calvin’s lead to 17-16. Later in the set, Rebecca Kamp found success at the service line with an ace of Hope’s Jessica Maier. Megan Rietema and DeHaan then combined for a team block to Jenna Grassmeyer to bring the set to 24-20. DeHaan then came up big on a solo block of a Maier back row attack to clinch the third set.
Contrary to the first three sets, the fourth set was competitive from the onset. The Kamp sisters gave Calvin an early 4-2 lead with a block of Jillian Sommerville, but the score was deadlocked at 10 early on. Warners was forced to call a timeout when Hope took a 14-12 lead, but the Knights clawed back to a one point deficit at 18-17 after a Lizzie Kamp cross court kill. Calvin then battled to tie the game at 20 and take a point advantage after consecutive kills from Rebecca Kamp. But Hope responded to reclaim a 23-22 lead late in the set. Another kill from Lizzie Kamp and an attacking error from the Dutch gave Calvin its first match point. Grasmeyer’s subsequent kill prolonged the match, but on match point at 25-24, Lizzie Kamp tipped down the line to secure a Calvin victory.
Warners, who credited Hope on “their amazing defense,” saw a lot of resiliency in her team.
“We have players with really good heads on their shoulders. They don’t take things too seriously and focus on winning the next point,” she said of her players’ reaction to first-set adversity.
“[Coming from behind] takes a mentality,” said Lizzie Kamp. “Everyone has to be all in and that is what’s special about our team.”
The victory improved top-ranked Calvin’s record to 28-0 and 15-0 overall. The Knights concluded MIAA play with a home match-up against Adrian tomorrow.