GRAND RAPIDS, Mich - The last match of the day at the NCAA DIII Volleyball Regional hosted by Calvin University featured the Knights of Calvin and the Tigers of DePauw. Calvin handled the Tigers in three sets, winning 25-18, 25-16, and 25-16.
DePauw qualified for the tournament by winning the NCAC conference tournament after finishing fourth in league play. Calvin came in off of an MIAA tournament title ranked number three in the nation.
The Tigers were not intimidated by the Knights' home crowd or Calvin's national ranking as the Tigers took control of the first set. The Tigers took an 8-5 lead behind some good blocking and Liv Hartman's attacking.
Calvin would respond eventually, tying the set at 18. Calvin then took over, and it would be for good. Calvin went on a seven-point run with Anna Schriemer serving. Two kills from Sarah DeVries and one from Ally Fea helped the Knights take the set 25-18.
Calvin kept that momentum going to start the second set, winning the first four points and extending Schriemer's serving streak to 12 serves. The Knights continued to dominate, with DeVries leading the way while Heidi Westra recorded five kills of her own. DePauw called two timeouts but could get nothing going. Calvin rolled to the set two victory, 25-16.
DePauw brought the fight to start the third set. Outstanding senior Morgan Stearley led the way defensively for the Tigers with her blocking while adding a kill. The Tigers took the early 4-3 lead. Calvin responded with another seven-point run to take the lead in the set 10-4. DePauw hung around to make it a two-point set at 16-18. Calvin had another seven-point run in store though, this time spurred by four kills from DeVries. Calvin took the set 25-16 and the match 3-0.
DePauw ends their season as NCAC conference tournament champions with an overall record of 18-13.
DeVries led the Knights in a big way tonight with 18 kills, 16 assists, eight block assists, and five digs. Kelsey Smith and Westra also had strong matches with eight and seven kills respectively. Schriemer tied Aubrey Wrubel in the digs category with 13, while Schriemer led the Knights with 22 assists.
With Calvin hosting this regional, the Knights had the support of the home crowd. "We get a ton of support from other athletic teams," DeVries said. "It is really fun to have the whole school cheering us on."
COACHES COMMENT: "I was overall very pleased with our mentality," Calvin head coach Amber Warners said. "I thought we came out with aggressiveness and poise. They handled themselves really well. Obviously, we have some things to sharpen up for tomorrow night but I'm really pleased with the first match."
UP NEXT: Calvin advances to the second round of the NCAA DIII Volleyball Tournament where it will host Ohio Northern at 8:00 PM on Friday the 15th. "I think both teams are very different than when we first played," Warners said. "We're going to come ready but we're also going to realize that it is going to be tough."