OSHKOSH, Wis. – The No. 2 ranked Calvin volleyball team rallied to ground the No. 5 ranked Eagles of Emory on Thursday afternoon. The Knights rallied back from 1-2, to win, 3-2. The Maroon and Gold took the match, 25-17, 19-25, 24-26, 25-21, 15-9. With the victory, Calvin advances to the NCAA Tournament semifinal round on Friday. Calvin will play Northwestern (Minn.) in the semifinals. The match will take place at 6:00 p.m. Eastern standard time and 5:00 p.m. Central standard time at the Kolf Sports Center.
"I'd like to congratulate Jenny McDowell and Emory for making it this far," said head coach Amber Warners. "Jenny is one of my closest friends in coaching and I thought it was an extremely hard-fought battle and neither team wanted to give in. At this stage of the game it is just playing for every point and I thought that we did that. I feel that we have 20 women who are incredibly dug in together. Whatever gets thrown their way, they are not going to go out without a fight."
The two teams would start the day exchanging the lead with each other. Leading 10-9, Calvin would go on a 3-0 run, with three-straight kills from senior Laura Danhoff (Willard, Ohio/Willard). The Eagles would cut the lead to 16-15, before Calvin would go on an 8-1 run. Calvin would take the first set 25-17. Laura Danhoff had seven kills in the first set.
The second set would start off very tight, with neither team being able to grow a lead bigger than four points. The Knights and Eagles would have eight ties in the second set. Emory would break away from the Knights late. Leading 18-17, Emory would go on a 3-0 run and not look back, taking the set, 25-21.
Emory then took an early 10-5 lead in the third set and would push the lead to six points at the 16-10 mark. Calvin would not quit and would tie the set at 18 with a 6-1 run behind the serve of Laura Danhoff. The two teams would tie the match four more times until the set was tied at 24. The Eagles took the next two points to take the set, 26-24.
With their back to the wall in the fourth set, Calvin broke the 7-7 tie with a 4-0 run behind the serve of sophomore Anna Kamp (Orland Park, Ill./Chicago Christian). Emory would cut the lead to 19-18 and the Knights would respond with a 6-3 run to take the set 25-21. Junior Tessa Van Laare (Toronto, Ontario/Toronto District Christian) had three kills on the Calvin run. The Knights hit .348 in the fourth set. Van Laare hit .500 in the set with five kills. Freshman Sarah DeVries (Grand Rapids, Mich./Northpointe Christian) had four kills.
The Knights jumped on the Eagles early in the fifth and controlled the set from the beginning. Calvin jumped out to a 3-0 run behind the serve of sophomore Keilahna Castillo (Grandville, Mich./Grandville). Leading 5-3, Calvin went on a 6-1 run to take a commanding 11-4 lead, led by two kills from Anna Kamp. Laura Danhoff put the set away with a kill from Jenna Lodewyk, to take the set 15-9. Anna Kamp led all player with four kills in the fifth set.
Laura Danhoff led all players with a career-high 21 kills, Tessa Van Laare also finished with a career-high 16 kills. Anna Kamp tallied 13 kills against Emory and Sarah DeVries had 10. Junior Jenna Lodewyk (Villa Park, Ill./Timothy Christian) had a game-high 46 assists, Laura Danhoff had a season-high three assists. Keilahna Castillo broke her career-high on Thursday with 33 digs, Jenna Lodewyk also had a season-high 12 digs, Kamp also finished with 12 digs. Freshman Ally Fea (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Mechanicsburg) and Laura Danhoff both assisted on six blocks, a career-high for both. Keilahna Castillo and Laura Danhoff both recorded a match-high three aces.