KALAMAZOO, Mich. – On Friday evening, the No. 4 ranked Calvin volleyball team hit the road to face the Hornets of Kalamazoo College. The Knights left Kalamazoo with a 25-11, 25-17, 25-18 victory. With this victory, the Knights clinch a share of the MIAA regular season crown. Calvin has won at least a share of the last seven MIAA regular season titles. Calvin leads the MIAA with 24 titles. The Knights enter the final week of the regular season riding a 13-match win streak with a record of 21-3 and at 13-0 in the MIAA. Kalamazoo falls to 5-16 and 2-10 in MIAA action.
"I was really pleased with our play tonight," said head coach Amber Warners. "It is a great honor for the team to earn a share of the MIAA title. This group has worked very hard this season, and they are deserving of this honor. With that being said, we still have a lot of things we want to accomplish, but this is a key step."
The Knights started the match with a service ace from senior Kristen Vyletel (Ann Arbor, Mich./Huron). Calvin would start on a 5-1 run with a pair of kills from sophomore Sarah DeVries (Grand Rapids, Mich./Northpointe Christian). Leading 8-5, Calvin would push the lead up to 12-5 behind the serve of junior Anna Kamp (Orland Park, Ill./Chicago Christian). After Kalamazoo cut the Calvin lead to 12-7, senior Tessa Van Laare (Toronto, Ont./Toronto District Christian) stung the Hornets with a pair of kills. The Knights closed the set on a 10-3 run, highlighted by three-straight service aces from senior Emily Blankespoor (Grand Rapids, Mich./South Christian). After a pair of Kalamazoo points, Anna Kamp ended the set at 25-11 with a cross-court kill. The Knights held the Hornets to a hitting percentage of -.115 in the first set.
The Maroon and Gold opened the second set on a 3-0 run and the run was ended when Anna Kamp sent the ball sailing to the exit and onto Academy Street. After the Hornets cut the lead to 6-5, Calvin rallied to push the lead back up to 11-5. Anna Kamp had four kills in the beginning of the set. The Knights went on a 4-0 run to push the lead to 19-8. Sophomore Ally Fea (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Mechanicsburg) scored the 20th point of the set for Calvin with a line drive that fell in front of the Kalamazoo defender. The Hornets would not fold and went on a 4-0 run to cut the Calvin lead to 20-14. A tip kill from freshman Sydney Segard (Hudsonville, Mich./Hudsonville) snapped the Kalamazoo run. Junior Rachel Herrera (Schererville, Ind./Illiana Christian) dug up the final ball second set to senior Jenna Lodewyk (Villa Park, Ill./Timothy Christian), who cleanly sent the ball to Sarah DeVries to end the set at 25-17.
The Knights jumped on the Hornets early in the third set at 7-1. The Knights kept their foot of the acceleration and pushed the lead up to 12-3. The Hornets pushed back in the third set and cut the Calvin lead to 16-11. A kill from Sydney Segard snapped the skid. The Knights elevated the lead to 24-15 before the Hornets would take the next three points. A tip kill from junior Jamie Petrarca (St. John, Ind./Illiana Christian) ended the set at 25-18.
The Calvin defense was strong on Friday and picked up on the Kalamazoo attack. Emily Blankespoor, Rachel Herrera, senior Megan Van Solkema (Escondido, Calif./Escondido Calvin Christian), junior Keilahna Castillo (Grandville, Mich./Grandville), Kristen Vyletel, Jenna Lodewyk, Anna Kamp and Sarah DeVries all recorded a dig on Friday.
Anna Kamp and Sarah DeVries both finished with a match-high 13 kills, DeVries hit .571 and had four blocks on Friday. Jenna Lodewyk tallied 34 assists and Keilahna Castillo recorded a match-high 14 digs.
Calvin has won 55-straight MIAA regular season matches and 34-straight road matches.
The Knights will take the weekend off and return to action on Tuesday at Van Noord Arena against Hope. The Knights can clinch the MIAA regular season outright against Hope.