Calvin moves on to championship, defeats Christopher Newport 3-1
HOLLAND, Mich. – Calvin punched its ticket to its second NCAA Championship in three years Friday by defeating Christopher Newport 25-19, 25-21, 23-25, 25-16 in a national semifinal match.
The Knights (33-2), who won their first national championship in 2010 by defeating Emory, will play St. Thomas (Minn.) for the Division III title at Saturday.
Using a diversified attack led by sisters Lizzie and Maggie Kamp, the Knights jumped on Christopher Newport early, building a 19-12 lead in the first set. The Captains battled back to cut the lead to 21-18, but back-to-back kills by L. Kamp sealed the set.
Calvin capitalized on a series of CNU attack errors to build a 17-11 lead in the second set. The Captains closed the gap to 19-18 on a Bailey Jensen kill, but could not pull even as the Knights took a 2-0 lead.
“I was very happy with how aggressive we served. I think it was probably one of the major differences in the match,” Calvin head coach Amber Warners said. “I was very proud of the intensity [we showed]. We’ve talked all year about playing within each point – not looking at the past and not relying on the future and thinking ahead. We did that for the most part.”
Christopher Newport showed its character in the third set, battling back from a 21-17 deficit to pull out the set. A block by Cory Harris and Chastity Lacy gave the Captains a 24-23 lead and Christie Fellows’ kill extended the match to a fourth set.
Leading 9-8 in the fourth set, the Knights slowly began to pull away, as Lizzie Kamp, Megan Rietema and Emily Crowe consistently found openings in the Christopher Newport defense. A tandem block by Lizzie Kamp and Rebecca Ratkov closed out the match.
“Calvin is just an unbelievable team,” Christopher Newport coach Lindsay Birch said. “They have some unbelievable athletes, great size, [with a] great coach. We did a lot of good things to get them out of system. I thought we served really great. Our serve-receive, we had to step up big time, and we did.”
The Knights hit over .300 in the first and fourth sets, and finished with four players in double figures for kills. Lizzie Kamp and Maggie Kamp each had 15 kills. Rietema added 11 kills, 40 assists and five blocks, while Crowe had 10 kills. Jen Pluymert led Calvin with 17 digs.
Fellows led the Captains with 12 kills, while Jessie Kolden added 11. Alyssa Kidd dished out 40 assists and Abby Hogge had 28 digs.