OSHKOSH, Wis. – The Calvin volleyball program won its third national title on Saturday night in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The Knights swept Washington University in St. Louis, 25-21, 25-21, 25-21. Calvin has also won a national title in 2010 and 2013. This is the 11th NCAA title in Calvin athletics history.
"I'd like to once again congratulate (coach) Vanessa Walby and Washington University for advancing to the finals," said head coach Amber Warners. "I'd like to thank the NCAA for putting on a fabulous tournament, Oshkosh for all the work they have done, the AVCA for all of their part of what goes into this championship. I thought that from the very beginning, the coaching staff has tried to have our players believe in themselves as women and as volleyball players and we have worked incredibly hard at that all year."
This is the second national title for the senior class.
"When people ask me how you measure success, I say that when your seniors give absolutely everything and walk away and they can't give anymore," said Warners. "I don't just mean that on the court, people see us about five percent of the time in our season. What these women have given is just unbelievable. I am really proud of the women they are, I was really proud of their fight, we asked them to just green light go and lay it out there and I thought they did that."
Laura Danhoff was named the Most Outstanding Player at the championships. Joining her on the All-Tournament Team was Sarah DeVries and Jenna Lodewyk.
"When I was a freshman, Megan Rietema and Kristen Zietse did the same thing," said Laura Danhoff. "I decided if I could do that is year that would be the icing on the cake. I mean this is great, but these girls and this program, I am forever going to miss this and this program, more than this win. I will remember all the moments with these girls."
The Knights and Bears tied the match 10 times and would sit tied at 12. Calvin would break the tie with a 3-0 run behind the serve of senior Laura Danhoff (Willard, Ohio/Willard). Calvin would break the set open leading 15-13 with a 6-0 run behind the serve of junior Jenna Lodewyk (Villa Park, Ill./Timothy Christian). Sophomore Anna Kamp (Orland Park, Ill./Chicago Christian) and freshman Sarah DeVries (Grand Rapids, Mich./Northpointe Christian) both had two kills in the run. Calvin would take the set, 25-21. Anna Kamp had five kills in the first set. Junior Kristen Vyletel (Ann Arbor, Mich./Huron) had six digs in the first set. The Knights hit .278 in the first set.
In the second set, the serve of junior Emily Blankespoor (Grand Rapids, Mich./South Christian) helped Calvin take a 4-1 lead. The Bears would fightback and tie the set at four. The Knights would take the next three points and not give the lead back the rest of the set. Leading 7-5, Calvin would get some separation in the set with a 7-3 run. Laura Danhoff had five kills in the second set.
The Bears would pounce early in the third set and take an early 5-3 lead. Calvin would take the next four points to take the lead back at 7-5. With the set tied at 19, Calvin would jump out to a 22-19 lead with the serve of junior Kristen Vyletel (Ann Arbor, Mich./Huron). Calvin would take the set once again at 25-21. Anna Kamp had six kills in the third set and sophomore Keilahna Castillo (Grandville, Mich./Grandville) had seven digs.
Anna Kamp finished with a match-high 13 kills, Sarah DeVries had 10 kills and Laura Danhoff had eight. Jenna Lodewyk finished the night with 35 assists and Keilahna Castillohad 13 digs. Kristen Vyletel finished with 11 digs and a match-high three aces.
The Knights finish the season at 33-1.
Laura Danhoff (Calvin College) • Most Outstanding Player
Sarah DeVries (Calvin College)
Caroline Dupont (Washington University)
Leesa Hulstrand (University of Northwestern)
Jenna Lodewyk (Calvin College)
Julianne Malek (Washington University)
Kate Mitchell (Southwestern University)