GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The No. 2 ranked Calvin volleyball program picked up its eighth NCAA regional title on Saturday night. The Knights won the title with a 3-1 victory over Millikin. Calvin defeated the Big Blue, 25-18, 25-18, 21-25, 25-14. Calvin improves to 30-1 on the year, this is the 16th time in program history that the Knights have hit the 30-win mark and the 10th time under coach Warners. Millikin finishes the year at 28-12. Calvin now advances to the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Division III Tournament in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The Knights will play the winner of Emory vs. Brockport. The match will take place on Thursday, Nov. 17, at 12:30 p.m. at the Kolf Sports Center.
"I want to first congratulate Millikin," said Dr. Amber Warners. "They are a really solid team; we knew there would be a lot of hard fought play. They have an incredible defense and their hitters are extremely crafty. I was really proud of our resiliency, I never felt that we had given up and we were going to dig our heels in harder."
The Knights would get some separation from the Big Blue early in the first set, leading 8-7, Calvin would go on a 3-0 run to take a 11-7 lead. The run was helped by kills from senior Laura Danhoff (Willard, Ohio/Willard) and junior Tessa Van Laare (Toronto, Ontario/Toronto District Christian). Millikin would fight back and tie the set at 14. The Knights would respond with a 7-0 run behind the serve of sophomore Anna Kamp (Orland, Park, Ill./Chicago Christian). Calvin would close the set on an 11-4 run to win, 25-18. The Knights would hit .486 in the first set and Laura Danhoff had eight kills.
Calvin would jump on the Big Blue early in the second set, a 5-1 run would give the Knights a 10-6 lead, from where they would not look back. Leading 14-12, the Knights rang-off six-straight points to take a 20-12 lead. The Maroon and Gold would go on to take the set, 25-18. The Knights hit well again in the second set, hitting, .405. Anna Kamp and Tessa Van Laare both had five kills.
With their backs against the wall, Millikin would fight-back in the third set. Taking an early 5-1 lead, Millikin would lead a majority of the set. The Knights would not go away however, and would fight back to tie the set at 16. The two teams would go on to exchange the lead until the 20-20 mark. Millikin would go on to take five of the last six points and win the set 25-21.
Trailing 3-1 in the fourth set, Calvin would rally with a 5-0 run behind the serve of junior Kristen Vyletel (Ann Arbor, Mich./Huron). Laura Danhoff had two kills in the run. It would be all Calvin from there, the Big Blue would trim the lead to four on three occasions, but that would be as close as they would get. Calvin would take the regional crown, with a 25-14 victory in set four. Anna Kamp and Laura Danhoff both finished the fourth set with four kills.
Laura Danhoff had a team-high 16 kills on Saturday, followed by Anna Kamp with 15 and Tessa Van Laare with 12. Junior Jenna Lodewyk (Villa Park, Ill./Timothy Christian) finished with a team-high 39 assists. Anna Kamp and Kristen Vyletel both had 14 digs. Laura Danhoff recorded two block and two aces in the win.