By Mark DeHaan
Calvin volleyball hosted the Hornets of Kalamazoo College on Friday evening for an MIAA contest. Not only was the match the final regular season game for the Knights, but it was also Senior Night as Calvin's two seniors, Kristin Zietse and Megan Rietema, were honored at Van Noord Arena.
Calvin made it a happy senior night, defeating Kalamazoo 25-11, 25-14, 25-13. The win gives the Knights a share of the MIAA regular season championship with Hope. Calvin also clinches the top seed for the MIAA Tournament as the Knights own a tie-breaker edge over Hope due to total sets won and lost in the two matches played against each other this fall.
Calvin's MIAA title is its fourth straight and sixth under current head coach Amber Warners. It is also the 19th in program history – the most in MIAA volleyball history.
In the first set Friday night, Calvin led 7-2 early on strong serving from Zietse before the Hornets were forced into taking a timeout.
The Knights continued to roll after the timout as even-distribution by Rietema led to a 25-11 set one victory. Four Knights tallied three kills each in the first set.
The Hornets played even with Calvin at the beginning of set two before strong service, this time from Rietema, gave the Knights a 9-4 lead on five straight points.
Calvin also played strong defense in the second, blocking five Kalamazoo attacks and holding the Hornets to a .037 hitting percentage. The Knights won set two 25-14.
In set three, Calvin jumped out to a 10-4 lead. The Knights held a commanding lead the rest of the way, earning a 25-13 third set victory and the three set sweep.
Calvin was very balanced on offense as sophomore Maggie Kamp led the team with 10 kills, juniors
Ellie Diepersloot and Emily Crowe added nine apiece, and freshman Laura Danhoff tallied eight. Rietema dished out 36 assists in the match while Zietse led the Knights with 15 digs. Junior Elise Biesboer added 10 digs.
"The seniors have done a tremendous amount on the court for us but also off the court. I'm really proud of them and the women they have become," said head coach Amber Warners. "The difference tonight is we stayed in system so our passes were on. When our passes aren't right to the target it's difficult to run the middle attack. I think Megan set a really nice match. She set a very balance attack and incorporated everybody."
Calvin improves to 27-1 overall and 15-1 in the MIAA while Kalamazoo drops to 13-15 overall and 7-9 in league play.
Calvin know looks forward to the MIAA tournament which will be held at Van Noord Arena with semifinals slated for Friday and the final scheduled for Saturday. Calvin will take on fourth-seeded Saint Mary's in the second semifinal Friday night at 7:30 p..m. with second-seeded Hope taking on third-seeded Trine in the first semifinal Friday at 5:30 p.m.