GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The No. 4 ranked Calvin volleyball team claimed a 3-0 victory over Trine on Saturday afternoon to complete the MIAA regular season undefeated. The Knights will head into postseason play at 24-3 overall and a perfect 16-0 conference record.
Last Tuesday, the Knights clinched the MIAA regular season title outright with a 3-0 victory over rival Hope College. On Friday night, the Knights swept Albion on the road.
Calvin is the first team in MIAA history to go undefeated in regular season conference play for three consecutive seasons.
"I'm really happy with where we are. We still can improve in several areas, but I really like how our team is coming together," said head coach Dr. Amber Warners. "Hopefully we will start peaking at the right team."
In the first set, the Knights strung together nine straight points to pull ahead after an early 3-3 tie. Trine chipped away at Calvin's lead, outscoring the Knights 11-5. Calvin called timeout, the scoreboard reading 17-14 in favor of the home team. Behind the serve of senior Emily Blankespoor (Grand Rapids, Mich./South Christian), the Knights scored four straight points to increase their lead to seven. After back-and-forth scoring, Calvin claimed a 25-17 set-one victory.
Junior Anna Kamp (Orland Park, Ill./Chicago Christian) logged three kills set one, reaching the 1000th collegiate kill milestone.
The two teams exchanged points early in set two. The Knights began to pull ahead, earning four straight points to gain a 15-9 advantage. Kamp and senior Tessa Van Laare (Toronto, Ontario/Toronto District Christian) contributed two kills apiece to help Calvin earn a 20-12 lead. Despite a resilient effort by the Thunder late in the set, a service ace by sophomore Sarah DeVries (Grand Rapids, Mich./Northpointe Christian) lifted the Knights to a 25-17 win.
Calvin's continued to roll in the third set. Behind the serve of junior Keilahna Castillo (Grandville, Mich./Grandville), the Knights went on a 7-0 run to earn an early 12-5 advantage. Castillo contributed three service aces to the scoring effort. Four straight points gave the Knights a 10-point advantage and forced a Trine timeout. The Thunder were unable to recover from the deficit and the Knights cruised to a 25-14 set-three victory to claim the match.
Anna Kamp led all players with 13 kills. Sarah DeVries had a solid all-around game, finishing with 10 kills, eight digs and three service aces. Senior setter Jenna Lodewyk (Villa Park, Ill./Timothy Christian) dished out 30 assists in the win, also contributing nine digs and five kills. Keilahna Castillo and Emily Blankespoor were solid in the back row for the Knights, posting 14 and 10 digs, respectively. Lodewyk and sophomore Ally Fea (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Mechanicsburg) were strong at the net, finishing with five block assists apiece.
Saturday's match served as Calvin's senior game, recognizing Emily Blankespoor, Tessa Van Laare, Jenna Lodewyk, Megan Van Solkema and Kristen Vyletel. The senior class boasts a 118-12 career record, including a 63-1 MIAA mark and 57-3 record at Van Noord Arena. Calvin's seniors also have notched 35-straight road wins for a 40-2 overall road record.
"I think that the seniors' record is phenomenal and it speaks so highly of what these girls have done. But what people don't see is all the time our seniors have invested behind the scenes – keeping what we stand for as a program intact," said Dr. Warners. "We talk about being inheritors and being builders, and this group has certainly become builders in their four years. I appreciate their effort and love for this program."
Calvin is back in action on Friday, as the Knights begin postseason play. The top-seeded Knights will face fourth-seeded Albion (14-13, 8-7 MIAA) in the MIAA Tournament Semifinals. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m. at Van Noord Arena.