Women’s Volleyball Team Readies for 2008 Campaign
Friday, August 22, 2008
The upcoming 2008 season will feature a year of change for the Calvin women’s volleyball team. The Knights will play in a temporary new home this fall and the starting lineup will also feature several new players as the Knights have graduated three senior starters including a four-year starter in Katie Zondervan at the setter’s position.
After bidding farewell to the Calvin Fieldhouse at the conclusion of the 2007 season, the Knights will have a temporary home this fall as they will play their home games inside the Huizenga Tennis and Track Center which is scheduled to open on August 15. At the conclusion of the 2008 season, Calvin will move next door to the VanNoord Arena which is slated to open in January of 2009.
The three departed seniors are outside hitter Kristen Kalb, middle hitter Molly Krikke and Zondervan who all landed AVCA Division III All-America honors during their time at Calvin. Kalb concluded her career as the Calvin career leader in kills while Zondervan finished her tenure as the Calvin career leader in assists.
“There’s no question that we will have a different look to our team, not only with our personnel but also with our home facility,” said Calvin women’s volleyball coach Amber Warners who is ranked fourth nationally among active Division III coaches in winning percentage (.794), compiling a 197-51 record in eight years as a head coach including seven at Calvin. “Obviously we have some positions to fill but I think we have players that are eager to fill those spots.”
A three-time All-MIAA selection as a setter from 1986-1989, Warners realizes that the most immediate challenge will be to find a new starter at the setter’s spot. “Just like a quarterback in football or a point guard in basketball, the setter plays a crucial role in directing the team,” said Warners. “Skill and chemistry are two of the most important attributes for a setter to have.”
Vying for the setter’s position will be junior Nora Bruskewitz (Milwaukee, WI) and sophomore Carolyn Nelson (Milan/Milan HS).
The Knights do return a handful of experienced players in senior libero Lauren DeGroot (Tulare, CA/Central Valley Christian HS), senior right side Jessica Garlick (Portage/Kalamazoo Christian HS), junior middle hitter Sara Kramer (Dyer, IN/Illliana Christian HS), junior defensive specialists Kelsey Sears (Traverse City/Traverse City West HS) and Katie Corbett (St. Joseph/Stevensville-Lakeshore HS) and sophomore outside hitter Kim Wigboldy (Chandler, AZ/Valley Christian HS). Other returning letterwinners include junior outside hitter Rachel DeYoung (Hudsonville/Unity Christian HS) and sophomore middle hitter Kayla Hollenbeck (Hudsonville/Hudsonville HS). Also returning to the team is senior defensive specialist Stacie Lippert (St. Louis, Mich./St. Louis HS).
DeGroot was a member of the 2007 All-MIAA second team and received MIAA Defensive Player of the Week honors during the season. In addition, she was named to the 2007 AVCA Great Lakes All-Region team and was later named an AVCA Honorable Mention All-American. She chalked up a team-best 632 digs and was credited with 29 service aces. The 2008 season will be her fourth year as a regular in the Calvin lineup. She will also close out over 10 years of the DeGroot name on the Calvin varsity as her older sisters Alicia and Kristen have been key members of the Calvin volleyball program dating back to 1997.
Kramer and Wigboldy are returning members of the Calvin starting lineup. Kramer carried a .265 hitting percentage in 2007 and averaged 2.20 kills-per-game. Wigboldy averaged 2.16 kills per game as a freshman in 2007. A two-sport standout, Wigboldy earned All-MIAA track and field honors this past spring after capturing a league title in the javelin at the MIAA Field Day.
Garlick is a savvy senior with the ability to pass and attack. She averaged 1.87 kills per game last year and amassed 51 assists. Sears came up with 402 digs and a team-leading 36 service aces in the back row. She was joined by Corbett in the back with Corbett contributing 15 aces and 179 digs.
Calvin will also bring a strong class of first-year players. “I think we will have some newcomers contribute on the varsity this year,” said Warners. “We should have some healthy competition in pre-season camp for playing time and positions.”
Calvin will open its season on August 29 and 30 at a tournament hosted by Ohio Northern. The Knights will also compete at the Wittenberg Border Battle in mid-September and compete in a late October quadrangular in Arizona. In addition, the Knights will co-host the Midwest Invitational with Hope on October 31 and November 1.
Calvin will open its MIAA campaign on September 3 at Kalamazoo. The MIAA Tournament is scheduled for the first week of November with first round play scheduled to begin November 4.
Of note, three rule changes for collegiate volleyball will take place beginning this fall. “Games” will now be called “Sets.” In the first four sets of a match, teams will now play to 25 points instead of 30. In addition, the number of player rotations for each set have been dropped from 15 to 12.
Finally, Calvin will seek to maintain its high academic rank as the Knights compiled a cumulative team grade point average of 3.392, receiving the MIAA’s Team GPA Award for the second straight year. The Knights also return four individuals who were named to the MIAA Academic Honor Roll during the 2007-08 academic year for maintaining a cumulative grade point average of 3.50 or above. Those individuals are Katie Corbett, Rachel DeYoung, Sara Kramer and Carolyn Nelson.