GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- For the fourth consecutive year, Calvin has advanced to the NCAA Division III regional finals. The Knights advanced to the regional final in familiar fashion, once again defeating Mount Union in a five-set second-round thriller at Van Noord Arena. A year ago, Calvin defeated the Purple Raiders in five sets. On Friday, Calvin won in much the same way, winning by scores of 25-11, 23-25, 25-20, 23-25, 15-8.
Top-ranked Calvin (31-1) will meet 10th-ranked Wittenberg (25-8) in the regional final at 7 p.m. Saturday at Van Noord Arena. It marks the fourth consecutive year that the two teams will meet in the regional final with Calvin winning in 2010 and 2012 and Wittenberg winning in 2011.
In its win against ninth-ranked Mount Union on Friday night, Calvin rolled through the first set, hitting at a .371 clip. The Knights then led 22-17 in the second set only to see the Purple Raiders rip off six unanswered points to take a 23-22 lead. Calvin tied the set at 23 but Mount Union scored the next two points to even the match.
After a third-set win, the Knights went for the win in set four but committed five service errors in the set to fall behind 18-13. Calvin rallied to within a point at 24-23 but a kill by Mount Union’s Taylor Webb closed out the set and forced a deciding set five.
Mount Union (31-5) grabbed a 5-4 lead in set five but the Knights went on to rip off a 9-1 lead to build a 13-6 lead. A pair of attack errors by Mount Union allowed Calvin to claim the final two points.
Calvin senior setter Megan Rietema tallied her first collegiate triple-double in the win, recording 11 kills, 46 assists and 16 digs. Sophomore Maggie Kamp came up with a match-high 24 kills for the Knights to go with 13 digs. Juniors Emily Crowe and Ellie Diepersloot had 11 and 10 kills respectively for the Knights. Senior libero Kristen Zietse had a career-high 33 digs for the Knights.
“We knew that Mount Union was a very talented team that had very few weaknesses and that they would be ready to play us,” Calvin coach Amber Warners said. “One thing we have stressed is not to focus on our opponent but to focus on ourselves. We wanted to bring our ‘A’ game and I thought we did that tonight.”
Mount Union received 18 kills from Taylor Webb while Nicole Snyder had 11 kills. Lauren Mastroine had a match-high 35 digs for the Purple Raiders.