HOLLAND, Mich. – The No. 6 Calvin volleyball team traveled to DeVos Fieldhouse and claimed a 3-1 victory over rival Hope College on Saturday evening.
With the victory, Calvin (10-3, 6-0 MIAA) stands alone in first place in MIAA as the only undefeated team in conference play. Hope (9-5, 5-1 MIAA) drops to second place in the conference standings. Today's victory marked the Knights' 50th consecutive victory in MIAA regular season matches.
Calvin leads the all-time series against now 66-30. The Knights have won eight of their last 10 meetings against the Flying Dutch, including its last four meetings at DeVos Fieldhouse. Calvin head coach Dr. Amber Warners is 34-12 all-time against Hope.
"I thought it was a great atmosphere, not that I would ever doubt that in a rivalry game. I'm really happy with our mentality – it's something we've been working on all week long," said Dr. Warners. "I know when teams face trials it can re-motivate you and provide new challenge. I thought we really responded well to those new challenges."
The Knights' offense dominated the match, with the exception of the third set that the Dutch took in extra points.
In set one, the Flying Dutch strung together four straight points to take an early 6-3 lead. Calvin sophomore Sarah DeVries (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian) ignited the Knights' offense with a big kill, sparking a 6-1 Calvin scoring run before Hope was forced to call timeout.
The teams exchanged points out of the break, but the Knights pulled ahead with four straight points. In the Knights' 4-0 run, junior Anna Kamp (Orland Park, Ill./Chicago Christian) and DeVries notched a kill and block assist apiece. The scoreboard read 16-12 in favor of the Knights when Hope called its second timeout.
The Flying Dutch scored the first point out of the break, but the Knights continued to roll, scoring five straight, including a pair of service aces by Kamp, to make the score 21-13. Calvin capitalized off of Hope errors to cruise to a 25-14 set-one win.
The Knights hit .238 in set one with nine kills, while the Dutch hit -.129, recording 10 attack errors.
Calvin dominated set two, taking a 25-12 win as Hope's offense struggled to find its rhythm.
The Knights jumped out to an 8-1 lead before Hope called timeout. Senior Tessa Van Laare (Toronto, Ont./Toronto District Christian) and DeVries each chipped in a pair of kills in the run, while junior libero Keilahna Castillo (Grandville, Mich./Grandville) added a pair of service aces.
Hope answered with a 5-3 scoring run to cut the deficit to five points, but the Knights widened the gap to nine with four unanswered points. Kamp and DeVries each put down kills, Kamp and sophomore Ally Fea (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Mechanicsburg) denied a Hope attack and senior Kristen Vyletel picked up a service ace.
After the two teams exchanged points, Hope called its second timeout of the match, the scoreboard reading 17-8 in favor of the Knights.
The Knights rolled to a set-two victory with the help of a 6-0 run that included four kills. Freshman Sydney Segard (Hudsonville, Mich./Hudsonville) and DeVries stuffed Hope's Sophie Hackett to claim the final point of the set.
DeVries led the all players with five second-set kills as Calvin swung for a .273 attack percentage.
In set three, the Flying Dutch fended off a Knights' sweep, clawing to a 27-25 victory.
The Knights pulled ahead after an early 2-2 tie, winning a trio of points as DeVries and Van Laare put down kills. Calvin maintained a four-point lead after back-and-forth scoring, but went up 11-5 after three consecutive Hope errors.
The Flying Dutch called their first timeout as Calvin gained a 13-7 advantage and responded with three straight points, before the Knights called their first timeout.
Hope's offense continued to heat up, and a 3-0 run knotted the score at 15. Calvin responded with back-to-back points to regain the lead, but the Dutch pushed back to tie the set at 18.
The Knights kept pushing ahead, despite Hope tying the score at 19, 21, 22 and 23.
DeVries put down a big kill to put Calvin within one point of the victory, but Hope prolonged the game, winning a big rally. Van Laare slammed a hit down the line to give Calvin a 25-24 advantage, but Hope won the next three points to force a fourth set.
Hope hit .289 in the third-set victory.
Despite the third-set push back from Hope, the Knights battled back to claim a 25-15 fourth-set victory and the match.
The Flying Dutch went up 7-5, but the Knights responded with three straight points to earn a one-point advantage.
With the score knotted at nine, the Knights began to gain momentum behind the serve of Vyletel. After four straight points, Calvin led 12-9. After a Hope point, the Knights built their lead to six with a pair of kills by DeVries, an ace by senior Jenna Lodewyk (Villa Park, Ill./Timothy Christian) and a block by DeVries and Fea.
The teams exchanged points until a block by Segard and DeVries forced one final Hope timeout, the scoreboard reading 21-13.
Despite two points from the Flying Dutch coming out of the break, the Knights finished strong with four straight points. Behind the serve of senior Emily Blankespoor (Grand Rapids, Mich./South Christian), the Knights took down Hope with a kill by Van Laare, a kill and solo block by Kamp and a big service ace by Blankespoor.
"Volleyball is a game of momentum. It's really easy at times to doubt yourself," said Dr. Warners. "Listening to that bigger voice, that stronger voice that's positive, is a choice, but you still have to believe it. What I really liked is how we responded after game three. We believed in ourselves."
DeVries had a stellar all-around game, posting game-high 16 kills and eight block assists, while also earning a team-high 12 digs. Kamp also added 16 digs, along with three block assists and a solo block.
Setter Lodewyk pumped out 32 assists in the win, also recording 11 digs.
The Knights offense hit .242 while Hope struggled to find its offensive rhythm, hitting 0.49 in the loss. Calvin earned 20 team blocks compared to Hope's six.
The Flying Dutch's offense was led by Katie Rietberg (Holland, Mich./West Ottawa) who finished with nine kills. Setter Sophie Hackett (Indianapolis, Ind./Brebeuf Jesuit Prep) posted 25 assists, while Mallory Luke (Saline, Mich./Saline) had 15 digs. Calvin held Hope's leading killer, Haley Muller (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian) to a hitting percentage of .000.
"We give Calvin a ton of credit. They played more solid and had more weapons than we did. They kept the pressure on us throughout the match," said head Hope volleyball coach Becky Schmidt. "We really struggled to find a way to establish a rhythm. Defensively, the kept us moving around the court as well and it prevented us from being able to go on instinct and to use our skills."
The Knights are back in action on Wednesday when they host Albion College (8-6, 4-2 MIAA) as they head into the heart of their MIAA season. Game time is set for 6:30 p.m.