HOLLAND, Mich. -- A rematch of the 2010 national championship match will be served up Friday afternoon in the semifinal round of the NCAA III volleyball championships being played through Saturday at DeVos Fieldhouse on the campus of Hope College.
No. 1-ranked Calvin College (33-1) will take on No. 7 Emory (34-4) at 5 p.m. ET Friday in the first of two semifinal matches. The championship match is set for 7 p.m. Saturday. Calvin, which suffered its only loss of the season in this building, dropping a five-set match to the No. 2-ranked Hope Flying Dutch in Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association action, beat UMass-Boston 3-1 in Thursday’s quarterfinals, while Emory defeated Eastern 3-0.Emory and Calvin feature similar attacks as they are led by active, athletic, All-American setters Sydney Miles and Megan Rietema, respectively. Miles, a sophomore, is a two-time All-American, while Rietema, a senior, has been named this year’s Player of the Year.
“Emory is one of the few teams in the nation that is really like us in the terms of their make-up,” said Calvin College coach Amber Warners. “They have an attaching setter, they’re big, they’re tall and they do things well.
“At this point, you bring your ‘A’ game or you’re going home,” Warners continued. “I have said it all along to the team, we have to focus on what’s on our side of the net. Stick to the game plan. We’ve watched film and we’re prepared, but when it comes right down to it, we have to pass. We have to serve aggressively and set up a tough block. We have to focus point-for-point and let the results take care of themselves.”
While Emory won the NCAA III national championship in 2008, the Eagles lost to Calvin College in the 2010 national championship match. DeVos Fieldhouse is located some 30 miles from the Knights’ campus in Grand Rapids, so the Eagles expect a partisan crowd.
“Amber [Warners] is just a fantastic coach and they are obviously a great program,” Emory coach Jenny McDowell said. “We played them in 2010 and lost to them in the championship final so we know what their crowds are like, but our kids have been playing at a high level for a period of time now, so I’m assuming we’re going to do that again. We’re going to be fearless when we play.
“Amber does a great job with that program and they have the player of the year,” McDowell said. "We’re going to play our game and go out there and go after it. We make adjustments against every opponent who it depends on what we decide we need to do offensively and defensively and then we’ll play our game.”