GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Calvin volleyball team started the MIAA season with a 3-0 victory over the Albion Britons. The Knights swept the three sets, 25-7, 25-22, 25-21. Calvin improves to 4-0 on the year and 1-0 in the MIAA, Albion falls for the first time this year to 4-1 overall and 0-1 in MIAA play.
"It is always nice to get a win," said Calvin head coach Amber Warners. "I think we need to work on our consistency and our mentality after we make mistakes. We have to show some more resiliency when a hitter hits the ball into the net instead of being worried. So, we are a team that has great upside, but we have to fix our mistakes. I am really happy with the win; I think the nerves were going a bit with the first home match."
The first set was all Calvin on Wednesday night. The Knights jumped out to an early 9-1 lead on Albion, behind the serve of senior Laura Danhoff (Willard, Ohio/Willard). Calvin would walk away with the set and win, 25-7. The Knights hit .600 during the first set, the highest of any set this season. The Maroon and Gold also dropped six service aces on the Britons in the first set.
"I was pleased with our serving," said Warners. "The thing that doesn't show in the stats is that how many times that we served and it wasn't an ace, but they only had one option to hit the ball. That to me is more important than any other stat. If we can get the other team out of their offensive system, we are going to do very well."
The second set would be much closer than the first. Tied at nine, Albion would go on a 6-1 run to take a 15-10 lead. The Knights would fight back and chip away at the Albion lead until they tied the set at 18. The two teams would exchange the lead until the set was tied at 21. Junior Kristen Vyletel (Ann Arbor, Mich./Huron) would break the tie with a kill and Calvin would finish the set on a 3-0 run, to win, 25-22.
The Britons would not go away down 2-0. Albion had a 14-10 lead in the third set before the Knights went on a 9-0 run behind the serve of junior Emily Blankespoor (Grand Rapids, Mich./South Christian). Albion would chip away at the Calvin lead and would cut the Knights lead to 22-20, before Calvin would close the set on a 4-1 run to win, 25-21.
Laura Danhoff had a game-high 12 kills for Calvin and hit .632 on Wednesday night. Kristen Vyletel tallied her second kill of her career at Calvin and sophomore Jamie Petrarca (St. John, Ind./Illiana Christian) tied her career-best, with two kills. Junior Jenna Lodewyk (Villa Park, Ill./Timothy Christian) had a game-high 28 assists. Emily Blankespoor recorded four aces and sophomore Keilahna Castillo (Grandville, Mich./Grandville) had 12 digs.
The Knights return to action on Friday when they travel to Indiana to face Trine. The Maroon and Gold return home on Saturday when the Saint Mary's Belles come to town.