By Mark DeHaan
The Calvin women's volleyball team hosted the Belles of Saint Mary's in the second MIAA Tournament semi-final matchup on Friday evening. In the first contest between #2 Hope and #3 Trine, also played at Van Noord Arena, the Flying Dutch prevailed 25-20, 25-15, 25-18.
Calvin, the top seed in the MIAA tournament, defeated Saint Mary's, the fourth seed, in both of their regular season meetings. And, in similar fashion, with a three-set 25-11, 25-15, 25-20 sweep of the Belles on Friday evening, Calvin advanced to the MIAA Tournament Final against Hope which will be played Saturday at Van Noord Arena.
Calvin commanded the first set from the beginning, jumping out to a 13-2 lead while forcing the Belles into a slew of errors. The Knights closed out the first set 25-11. Calvin hit .409 in the opening set while holding the Belles to a percentage of -.048.
Sophomore Maggie Kamp tallied five kills in the first set.
The second set was played much more closely. Saint Mary's stayed within a point early in the match, trailing 12-11. Calvin then scored four straight to open up a 16-11 lead. The Knights outscored the Belles 9-4 the remainder of the set, claiming a 25-15 victory.
The third set saw Saint Mary's again hang with the Knights. The Belles held a lead late in the contest, up two at 17-15. Calvin responded, led by Diepersloot, and the Knights took the final set 25-20 to earn the sweep.
Calvin held the Belles to a .051 hitting percentage while hitting .315 as a team.
Diepersloot and Kamp paced the Calvin attack with 10 kills apiece, while Danhoff tallied eight. Rietema dished out 27 assists while adding 9 kills and 6 digs. Senior Kristi Zietse led the Knights with 12 digs.
"I think we gave up a few more unforced errors than is typical for us. There is an ebb and flow in a game, and we got the job done tonight. Now we'll focus on tomorrow but we'll have to play better," said head coach Amber Warners. "We're just going to try and come in tomorrow and play our game, play aggressive, and play well with fewer unforced errors, and the outcome will take care of itself."
Calvin advances to the MIAA Final tomorrow against the Flying Dutch of Hope. The two teams split the regular season series and will be playing for the conference automatic qualifier for the NCAA Tournament.
The volleyball final will be the finale of three straight Calvin-Hope MIAA Tournament finals. Men's soccer and women's soccer will play at noon and 2:30 at Zuidema Field while volleyball will play at 5:30 at Van Noord Arena.