By Mark DeHaan
The Calvin women's volleyball national semifinal matchup on Friday provided fans with a rematch of the 2010 National Championship between the Knights and the Eagles of Emory University. Calvin defeated Emory in four sets in 2010.
On Friday, the Knights again defeated the Eagles, this time in three sets at 25-17, 25-21, 25-22. With the win, Calvin advances to the national championship final for the third time four years. Calvin will face #3 Cal Lutheran in the national championship final at 7 p.m. at Hope's DeVos Fieldhouse. Cal Lutheran defeated Wisconsin-Stevens Point 26-24, 25-19, 25-16 in Friday's second semifinal.
Tickets will be on sale at Calvin's Van Noord Arena box office 9am-1pm on Saturday with student tickets on sale from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Van Noord Arena Box Office.
In the first set against Emory Friday, the teams were tied at 10-10 before a 4-0 run gave the Knights a 14-10 advantage. Calvin then took a 19-14 lead on a kill from freshman Laura Danhoff which forced the Eagles into a timeout.
The Knights continued to hold the lead and closed out the first set with a solo block by junior Emily Crowe, claiming the 25-17 victory.
Calvin hit .400 in the opening set while also playing strong defense, recording three blocks.
The second set saw Calvin take an early lead before the Eagles knotted the set at 11-11 on three straight points.
The Knights then took their largest lead of the set at 21-16 after a pair of kills from sophomore Maggie Kamp. After an Emory timeout, Calvin closed out the second set 25-21.
Kamp tallied seven kills in the second set while the Knights dug out 25 attacks as a team.
The third set was played very closely. Both teams saw two point leads early, Emory at 6-4 and Calvin at 13-11. The Knights again took a two point advantage at 24-22, and with a service ace from sophomore Jamie Kooiman, earned a 25-22 third set victory and the three set sweep.
Calvin advances to the National Championship for the second straight year with the victory.
Kamp led the Knights on offense with 20 kills at a hitting percentage of .447 while adding nine digs. Senior Megan Rietema had 29 assists, 10 digs, and eight kills, while senior Kristen Zietse led Calvin with 13 digs.
"I thought our back row allowed our star players to be stars," said head coach Amber Warners. "We're continually telling them to never give up on the ball because I don't think they always believe how good and fast they can be. A lot of times they get unnoticed but they kept us in system the entire match, and I thought that was key."
"This is something that we've worked for all season," said Rietema on a chance to return to the National Championship. "It is really exciting to have this opportunity - this is where all the teams that played this year wanted to be."
Emory was led by freshman Jessica Holler with nine kills, while Cat McGrath added eight. Miles dished out 26 assists.
"(Calvin) came out firing on all cylinders," Emory coach Jenny McDowell said. "I thought our net play was really good. We had a difficult time on our back row. We just weren't passing very well. That had a lot to do with Calvin serving us tough."
Calvin is now 34-1 while Emory ends its season at 34-5.