No. 1 Calvin Volleyball Sweeps Saint Mary's and Olivet - Finishes MIAA Crossover Challenge 4-0

No. 1 Calvin Volleyball Sweeps Saint Mary's and Olivet - Finishes MIAA Crossover Challenge 4-0

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The No. 1 Calvin women's volleyball team picked up a pair of victories on Saturday to close out the MIAA Crossover Challenge. The Knights defeated Saint Mary's 25-15, 25-16, 25-8 and then went on to sweep Olivet 25-16, 25-14, 25-16. 

Calvin remains perfect on the season, improving to 7-0 overall. After picking three wins at the Bomber Invitational last weekend at Ithaca College, the Knights moved into the top spot of the latest AVCA Division III Top 25 poll. 

In the first day of the MIAA Crossover Challenge, the Knights claimed two three-set victories against Alma and Trine. Calvin served as the co-host of the weekend tournament. Although the Crossover Challenge featured MIAA opponents in head-to-head competition, the matches were all considered nonconference. 

Calvin vs. Saint Mary's

The Knights started the day strong, jumping out to an early 8-2 lead in set one against Saint Mary's. The Belles cut the deficit to three points before Calvin slowly began to pull ahead. After kills by freshman Kelsey Smith (Vienna, Va./Madison) and sophomore Courtney Vanderhoning (Byron Center, Mich./South Christian) to give the Knights an 16-8 lead, Saint Mary's called timeout. Out of the break, Calvin scored again, but the Belles answered with four straight points to come within five points of the Knights. A kill by senior Anna Kamp (Orland Park, Ill/Chicago Christian) and a pair of double blocks by Kamp and Vanderhoning gave the Knights a sizable 20-12 advantage. Calvin outscored the Belles 5-3 to roll to a 25-15 set one victory.

In the second set, Calvin jumped out to a 6-0 lead behind the serve of Smith. The Belles shaved the deficit to three points, but the Knights answered with back-to-back kills by Kamp and junior Ally Fea (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Mechanicsburg) to lead 10-5. After points on both sides, the Knights scored three straight points to earn a seven-point advantage. Calvin widened the lead to 21-12 with senior Rachel Herrera (Schererville, Ind./Illiana Christian) at the serving line. The Belles answered with a pair of points, but were unable to contain the Knights as Calvin rolled to a nine-point win. 

Saint Mary's scored the first point of the third set before the Knights strung together nine straight points. Fea had four kills in the run, while Smith aced two serves. The Belles struggled to find their offensive groove, while Calvin's momentum continued to build. Leading 14-5, the Knights scored five consecutive points to force a Saint Mary's timeout. Calvin scored again out of the break to reach the 20-point mark. The 15-point deficit was too large for the Belles to overcome and Calvin earned a decisive 25-8 set three victory to take the match. The Knights swung for a .571 hitting percentage in the final set, putting down 17 kills. 

Kamp led the Calvin offense with 13 kills, hitting .600, while also posting five block assists. Junior Sarah DeVries (Grand Rapids, Mich./Northpointe Christian) pumped out a game-high 16 assists, led the Knights with 13 digs and put down nine kills. Smith and Fea finished with seven kills apiece and Smith also had an impressive five service aces.

Calvin vs. Olivet

A pair of service aces by Kelsey Smith in set one put the Knights ahead early. After an Olivet side out, a trio of points gave Calvin a 7-3 lead. The Comets responded with three points of their own, but a quick kill by Sarah DeVries kicked off a four-point run by the Knights to earn a five-point lead. Calvin maintained its lead as the teams exchanged points. Four straight Calvin kills late in the set gave the Knights a 21-13 advantage. Freshman Anna Schriemer (Vicksburg, Pa./Vicksburg), freshman Grace Kellogg (Belleville, Mich./Plymouth Christian Academy) and DeVries put down kills in the run to help secure a 25-16 set one victory. 

Calvin came out strong in the second set to build a 6-3 lead. The Knights held their lead and began to pull away midway through the set. Leading by three, Calvin surged for a 7-1 run to go up 16-8. After two points on either side, the Knights racked up five consecutive points behind the serve of senior libero Keilahna Castillo (Grandville, Mich./Grandville) for a commanding 12-point advantage. The Comets responded with three straight points, but the comeback effort fell short as the Knights put up back-to-back points to claim a 25-14 win. 

The Comets continued to battle in the final set as the two teams exchanged points until the score was knotted at 10. Calvin pulled into the lead with a five-point run. Kellogg led the Knights from behind the line, acing two serves in the offensive push. Olivet struggled to find its groove, while the Knights continued to roll. Leading 19-15, Calvin outscored the Comets 6-1 to close out the match. Ally Fea, DeVries and Kellogg contributed kills in the final run, and DeVries sealed the victory with a service ace. 

DeVries swung for a .667 hitting percentage in the winning effort, leading the Knights with 18 kills while also racking up 13 assists and three service aces. Anna Kamp finished with 10 kills and recorded two blocks. Kellogg contributed seven kills, seven digs and a pair of service aces, while Smith had six kills and two service aces. As a team the Knights hit. 400. 

The Knights are back in action next weekend when they travel to Indiana for the DePauw Tiger Invitational. Calvin will take on Illinois Wesleyan on Friday before facing DePauw and Rose-Hulman on Saturday. Friday's match is set for 6 p.m.