GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Calvin fell to rival Hope in the MIAA Tournament Championship final 5-1 Friday afternoon at the Strikwerda Tennis Courts. The Knights end the season with an overall record of 17-4 which matches the Calvin single-season record for wins.
As tournament champion Hope (10-10) gains the MIAA's automatic bid to next week's NCAA III Tournament.
Hope took all three doubles points to gain early control of the match.
The Flying Dutchmen took the first point with an 8-3 win at No. 2 doubles. After trailing 6-2, Calvin's No. 3 doubles team of junior Jose Larrea and freshman Max Stallings closed to within 6-5. Hope reeled off the next two points however to win the match 8-5 and take a 2-0 lead overall.
All attention then turned to a spirited match at No. 1 doubles between Calvin's tandem of senior Matt VanWinkle (St. Joseph, Mich./St. Joseph HS) and junior Jason Wolters (Hudsonville, Mich./Unity Christian HS) and Hope's duo of Mark VanderStoep and Danny Kroeze. The match went back-and-forth with Calvin taking a 5-4 lead only to see Hope go up 6-5. VanWinkle and Wolters fought back to tie the match 8-8. The ensuing super tiebreaker also went back-and-forth with Hope claiming the final two points for an 8-6 super tiebreaker win and a 9-8 victory in the match.
With momentum on its side, Hope closed out the victory with wins at No. 2 and No. 4 singles. Calvin's lone point came from Wolters who was a 6-1, 6-1 winner at No. 5 singles.
"It's disappointing to lose but give credit to Hope. They played well and came out on top and I congratulate them," said Calvin men's tennis coach John Ross. "There was a lot of energy and emotion in doubles and when Hope took all three points, it became very challenging to build a comeback. Despite the loss, I am incredibly proud of my team. This loss stings but our team has much to be proud of. We tied a school record for wins in a season and had a terrific run. We will miss our graduating seniors and thank them for their contributions over the last four years."
Concluding their collegiate careers on Friday for Calvin were VanWinkle and senior David Brown (Lake Zurich, Il./Lake Zurich HS).