Nov. 22, 2010

Recap: DIII Championship: Calvin Takes It All Over Emory

By Jim Faasen
Special to

ST. LOUIS - Just a few months after graduation from Grand Rapids (Mich.) Christian High School, Calvin College freshman setter Megan Rietema is already a big name in the NCAA Division III volleyball world.

In addition to just being a member of the Knights' national championship team, Rietema has both the statistics and the trophy to prove just how invaluable she is.

Rietema was named to the All-Tournament on Monday after Calvin defeated Emory in four sets to win the NCAA Division III women's volleyball championship. In the 25-14, 25-20, 19-25, 25-23 win over Emory at the field house on the campus of Washington University Monday, Rietema wreaked havoc on the Eagles defense.

"It's a huge privilege," Rietema said. "I couldn't have done it without the team or my coaches, though. (In the final) coach told me that the dumps were open all match. It worked pretty well today."

She left the Emory defense in a state of confusion as she recorded eight kills to go along with 37 assists because the Eagles were often unsure whether a set or a kill attempt was coming off Rietema's hands.

Rietema, who is 6-foot-1, had two such kills on back-to-back plays to end the match.

"I'm not sure what to say except for the fact that she brings something to our team with her ability to rise above the net on the offense as well as save some of our tighter passes," Calvin coach Amber Warners said. "We actually work on our tighter passes a lot more because of her and her ability at the net and I think that it's something you rarely see at this level."

Even the opposing coach - Emory's Jenny McDowell said she knew just what a difference maker Rietema was Monday.

"She is so high and she contacts the ball so high and she's able to put it in either one of the corners," McDowell said. "That was a pretty impressive performance by a freshman. She made great plays at great times."

During the final two rounds of the championship in wins over Juniata and Calvin, Rietema recorded 16 kills and 75 assists.

That comes on the heels of a regular season in which Rietema converted 2,180 assists and 94 kills for Calvin (32-4).

"This is just amazing," Rietema said. "It's hard to believe right now. I couldn't ask for anything more."