PITTSBURGH, PA. – The Calvin women's volleyball team defeated Aurora University 25-23, 25-22, 21-25 and 25-21 in the DIII NCAA Quarterfinal on Thursday afternoon at the A.J. Paulumbo Center.
The two opponents have faced each other previously on October 20 at the Elmhurst Invitational with Calvin prevailing in five sets. Much like the first encounter, Thursday's quarterfinal proved to be a hard-fought match.
Both teams came out battling early in the set as the score remained tight. Tied at 7-7 Aurora went on a four-point run to take the 10-7 lead. Calvin tightened it back up to trail by two, but the Spartans went on a five-point run to take the 17-10 lead. Calvin didn't give up though as they battled back to tie things up late in the set 22-22 and finished out the set 25-23.
Once again both teams remained neck and neck at the beginning of the set. A run of five behind the serve of freshman Anna Schriemer (Vicksburg, Mich. / Vicksburg) gave Calvin the 9-4 lead. The Spartans came back with a run of four to trail by one. The Knights went on a three-point run to lead 13-10, but the Spartans eager to win went on a run of seven to take the lead 17-13. Just like the first set though, Calvin battled back to tie things up 19-19. Both teams rallied back and forth, but it was the Knights who closed out the set with a run of three to take it 25-22. Calvin had a .313 attack percentage.
The Spartans took the early lead in the set 8-3. The Knights were able to narrow the lead to within one to make it 11-10. Both teams rallied exchanging points, but a run of three gave the Spartans the five-point advantage 17-3. The Knights stuck in the match but fell short as Aurora claimed the set 25-21.
The Knights took the early lead in the fourth set with a five-point run to lead 7-2. The Spartan's recovered from their errors to come back and tighten the match up, but the Knights resilient to lose closed out the match and took it 25-21. Calvin had a .364 attack percentage in the fourth set.
Leading the Knights was junior Sarah DeVries (Grand Rapids, Mich. / Northpointe Christian) with 20 kills, a 3.75 attack percentage, 17 assists and six digs. Freshman Kelsey Smith (Vienna, Va. /Madison) had 12 kills and a .370 attack percentage. Senior Anna Kamp (Orland Park, Ill. / Chicaho Christian) had nine kills and 12 digs. Senior Keilahana Castillo (Grandville, Mich. / Grandville) had 12 digs and Schriemer had 23 assists.
Head Coach Amber Warner's stated, "We knew the match was going to be tough coming in. They played great defense, they are always coming with a quick fast offense, and I was just really happy that under the circumstances we played pretty resilient and we played pretty consistent volleyball."
The Knights will compete in the NCAA Semifinals on Friday against Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Wisconsin-Eau Claire was a three-set winner over Babson later Thursday afternoon.