GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The No. 1 Calvin women's volleyball team welcomed No. 19 University of Chicago Maroons to Van Noord Arena on Tuesday night for a non-conference match. Trailing two sets to one, the Knights rallied back late in a competitive fourth set and used their momentum to claim the deciding fifth-set victory (25-15, 18-25, 18-25, 25-22, 15-8).
With the win, the Knights remain undefeated on the season and improve to 11-0 overall. Calvin is now 4-0 against nationally-ranked teams this year, with a 2-0 mark in five-set matches. The Maroons take their second loss of the year to hold a 12-2 overall record.
The Knights jumped out to an early 4-1 lead in set one as junior Gabi Allread (Sylvan Lake, Mich./West Bloomfield) and freshman Anna Schriemer (Vicksburg, Mich./Vicksburg) earned a service ace apiece. The Maroons made the score 6-4, still in favor of Calvin, before the Knights staged a 6-2 run to force a Chicago timeout. Chicago sided out after the break, but the home team continued to roll, scoring three straight points before another visitor timeout. The Maroons began to find their groove late in the set, but Calvin maintained its lead to take the 25-15 set one victory.
Chicago came out strong in the second set and used its momentum to build a 8-4 lead before Calvin called its first timeout. The Maroons took the next point out of the break, but the Knights responded with a four-point run to trail by one and force a Chicago timeout. Junior Sarah Devries (Grand Rapids, Mich./Northpointe Christian), Schriemer and freshman Grace Kellogg (Belleville, Mich./Plymouth Christian Academy) contributed kills in the scoring surge. The Maroons held their advantage despite the Knights' run as the two teams exchanged points. Late in the set, Chicago pulled ahead 20-16 and the Knights took their second timeout. Calvin struggled to get its offense going and, after points on both sides, the Maroons closed out the set with a four-point run.
Calvin jumped out to a 3-0 lead behind the serve of Allread in the third set. The Maroons responded to knot the score at four before taking the lead off a service ace. The score was tied seven times as the two teams went back-and-forth in scoring until Chicago used a trio of points to go up 14-11. After another Chicago point, the Knights strung together two straight points to make it a one-point set, but the Maroons answered and regained their four-point lead. Calvin called its second timeout and scored out of the break to make the score 18-15. However, the Maroons capitalized on a number of late Calvin errors to take the set 25-18.
With the score tied 6-6 early in the fourth set, Chicago put down a trio of points and the Knights called timeout. Out of the break, back-to-back kills from DeVries and Kellogg gave Calvin a spark. The Maroons quickly halted the momentum, building a 13-9 advantage. The Knights responded with a kill and a block to come within two points of Chicago, but continued to struggle to find their groove. After points on both sides, a three-point run behind the serve of Chicago's Madison Pearson gave the Maroons an 18-13 lead and the Knights called their second timeout.
The Knights battled back, cutting Chicago's lead to three after the break with kills by senior Anna Kamp (Orland Park, Ill./Chicago Christian) and Kellogg. After a Chicago timeout, the two teams exchanged points with the Maroons maintaining the lead. Trailing 20-17, the Knights put down two straight kills to ignite Calvin's offense. After a point by the Maroons, the Knights surged for four straight points to move into the lead, the score now 23-21. Sophomore Sydney Segard (Hudsonville, Mich./Hudsonville) and Kamp each put down kills in the run, while Kellogg delivered a big service ace. The Maroons answered with a kill, but Calvin blocked their next two attacks to take a narrow 25-22 victory and force a fifth set.
With the momentum in their favor, the Knights took an 6-3 lead and forced an early Chicago timeout. Calvin continued control the set as the Maroons now struggled to find the floor with their attacks. Leading 9-6, the Knights staged a decisive four-point run to earn a lead that the Maroons were unable to recover from. DeVries stepped up for the Knights during the run, contributing a kill, assist and service ace to put the Knights up 13-6. Chicago responded with two kills, but were unable to overcome the deficit as Calvin claimed a 15-8 fifth set and match victory.
DeVries had a solid all-around performance, finishing with team-high 21 assists, 16 kills, nine digs, five block assists and a solo block. Kamp, named the MIAA Player of the Week, contributed a double-double with 16 kills and 12 digs, along with Kellogg who posted 14 digs and 11 kills. Schriemer pumped out 21 assists, while senior libero Keilhana Castillo (Grandville, Mich./Grandville) recorded a game-high 21 digs. Junior Ally Fea (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Mechanicsburg) added a game-high six block assists, while Allread followed with five block assists and three service aces.
"I think it was a matter of just relaxing," said Calvin head women's volleyball coach Amber Warners. "We were playing too uptight when things weren't going our way. It was a matter of relaxing, taking a deep breath and getting the momentum back."
Warners also cited the strong play of Chicago in Tuesday's match. "Chicago is a very well-coached team. Very athletic. They are one of the top teams in the country. Sharon (Dingman) does a great job coaching their team and we knew it would be a very difficult match. It was a match tonight that was very competitive. It was two teams that did not want to give in."
The Knights are back in action this weekend as they kick off conference play against rival No. 13 Hope College (11-1). Calvin will welcome the Flying Dutch to Van Noord Arena on Saturday for a 7 p.m. match.