PITTSBURGH, PA. – The Calvin women's volleyball team defeated Wisconsin- EAU Claire in a thrilling five set match 23-25, 25-22, 25-17, 20-25 and 15-13 in the NCAA DIII Semifinals on Friday evening at A.J. Palumbo Center.
The Blugolds came out leading in the first set. Up 16-11, the Knights went on a five-point to tie things up 16-16. The Blugolds answered with a four-point run to take the lead back 20-16. Calvin battled back to tie it up once again 23-23, but it was EAU Claire who closed out the match 25-23.
The Knights established the lead early in the second set to lead 10-7, but a run of three by the Blugolds tied the set up 10-10. Calvin went on a run of six-points to take the 16-10 lead. EAU Claire narrowed the score to within two points and battled back up until the end of the set, but a kill from freshman Grace Kellogg (Belleville, Mich. / Plymouth Christian Academy)closed out the set 25-22.
The Knights came out on fire the third set as they went on a five-point run to take the lead 5-0. The Blugolds tried to fight back as the teams exchanged points, but they fell short as the Knights ran away with it 25-17. Calvin hit a .346 attack percentage.
The Blugolds took the early lead in the fourth set, but a run of four by the Knights tied things up 8-8. EAU Claire went on a couple short runs to extend the lead 17-10. Calvin battled back to narrow Blugold's lead to 19-17. Both teams rallied back and forth, but it was EAU Claire who took the set 25-20.
The fifth set was indeed a thriller. Both teams exchanged points early on in the set. Tied at 4-4, the Blugolds went on a run of three to take the 7-4 lead, but the Knights quickly tied it back up at 8-8. EAU Claire scored a couple points to lead by two, but Calvin went on a four-point run to take the lead 13-11. Two kills by the Bluegolds tied the set back up 13-13, but two kills from Calvin senior Anna Kamp (Orland Park, Ill. / Chicago Christian) closed out the match 15-13 and the Knights claimed the victory.
Kamp led the Knights with 18 kills, three assists, 11 digs, two aces and three block assists. Junior Sarah DeVries (Grand Rapids, Mich. / Northpointe Christian) had 11 kills, 29 assists, seven digs, and 11 block assists. Senior Keilahna Castillo (Grandville, Mich. / Grandville)had 18 digs.
Three freshmen for Calvin played key roles in the Knights victory. Kelsey Smith (Vienna, Va. / Madison) had 13 kills, three digs, and six block assists. Kellogg had 11 kills, a .346 attack percentage, two assists, three aces, 14 digs and three block assists. Anna Schriemer (Vicksburg, Mich. / Vicksburg) had 17 assist, three aces and eight digs.
Head Coach Amber Warner's stated, "I thought we had resiliency once again, we've had it all season. We believe in ourselves and we wait for the right opportunities and never give up. We are going to have to come out and play our best game against whichever team we match up against tomorrow."
The Knights will compete in the NCAA DIII National Championship tomorrow at 7 p.m. against the winner of Juniata and Emory.