Nov. 12, 2010

SPRINGFIELD, OH - The Calvin College Knights volleyball team had seen this before. They had won the first round of the NCAA Division III volleyball tournament in straight sets. Last year, Calvin defeated Wittenberg in three sets only to fall to rival Hope in the second round. This year's team was determined to not meet the same fate. The Knights were up against the number one ranked team in the region; Heidelberg College. Calvin did not meet the same fate, as it rolled to a four set victory over "The Berg" by scores of 25-18, 16-25, 25-18, 25-19.

The first set started off similar for Calvin. A couple of service errors kept Heidelberg in the game. It was tied at nine when Lizzie Kamp stepped up to the service line. She rattled off four straight points including an ace to give the Knights the lead. That was enough to keep the lead as Calvin cruised to a first set victory.

Heidelberg got out to a 6-1 lead with the help of a service run from Rachel Ferguson. That lead held till 12-7 when Calvin head coach Amber Warners called a timeout. The Knights came out of the timeout with kills from Renee DeHaan and Rebecca Kamp. Heidelberg then went on a 8-5 run to increase their lead to 21-14 forcing another timeout call. This time the timeout proved to be less effective as Heidelberg took the second set.

"We played with confidence during every point" Rebecca Kamp said after the match.

Calvin did just that starting the third set. A couple of three point service runs from Kelly Peterson and Lizzie Kamp gave the Knights a 7-2 lead forcing a timeout call from Heidelberg head coach Jason Miller. The third set got as close as 15-12. Then Rebecca Kamp recorded three kills the next four points, and the third set was history. Calvin was now a set away from reaching the sweet sixteen, a place the Knights had not been since 2006.

The fourth set opened up similar to the third set. Megan Rietema went on a service tear that featured back-to-back aces to give Calvin a 7-1 lead. "The Berg" was not finished just yet. After a timeout by head coach Jason Miller, they went on a 11-4 run to take the lead 12-11. The Knights were resilient. Steadily increasing their lead, Calvin got ahead by five points at 20-15 and did not look back.

Calvin ended the day hitting a .263 clip while holding Heidelberg to only .110. The Knights had four aces and 15 service errors while Heidelberg had sevens aces and seven service errors. Calvin totaled nine team blocks while their opponenets only had three.

The real story of the day was the passing of Calvin.

"I thought our serve receive was spot on" coach Warners said after the match. The defense read Heidelberg's hitters very well for how quick their attack is."

Calvin advances to the regional final where it will play host #2-ranked Wittenberg which defeated Hope in straight sets Friday nights. Saturday's regional final match will be played at 7:00 Eastern Standard Time at Wittenberg's Pam Evans Smith Arena.

Saturday's match will mark the third time that Calvin and Wittenberg have met in a regional final with Wittenberg winning the two prior meetings - the first coming in 2005 at Wittenberg and the second coming in 2006 at Calvin.