HOLLAND, Mich. -- Megan Rietema helps people.
Every time her Calvin team takes the court, Rietema, who is the Knights’ setter, helps her front-row teammates by putting the ball right where they want it. She also helps Calvin coach Amber Warners by keeping her teammates focused on their goals while not losing sight of the moment at hand.
And Rietema, the 6-foot-2 senior from Grand Rapids, has done it all so well that she has helped Calvin hitters Maggie Kamp and Emily Crowe earn All-America honors, has helped the Knights (34-1) achieve a No. 1 ranking and helped propel her team into Saturday night’s NCAA Division III national championship match at Hope's DeVos Fieldhouse.
And she also has done it all well enough to be named the American Volleyball Coaches Association’s national player of the year. A three-time All-American, Rietema had 29 assists, 10 digs and eight kills in Calvin's semifinal victory Friday night.
Rietema, however, also helps people off the volleyball court. Because she wants to spend her life helping people, Rietema is pursuing a course of study that is synonymous with helping.
A nursing school student, Rietema went directly from clinics to practice two days each week this fall. “Luckily it’s only two days a week, so it’s not too horrible,” Rietema said. “The nursing department is super flexible with it so it ends up working out. [Calvin coach Amber Warners] always puts academics before athletics, so if there is something you need to miss for school she is supportive of that.”
Rietema helped lead Calvin to a 3-0 victory against Emory on Friday in semifinal action.
“I took general classes for a few years and then I decided that nursing is something I’d like to do,” Rietema said. “I like to help people and the health field is really interesting to me. I don’t know what made me decide to go into nursing but I just really like working with people. That was a big part of it. I didn’t want to do a job where I got stuck in an office all day, so nursing was a good option.”