St. Norbert Stubbornly Falls to No. 1 Calvin in NCAA Tournament

From Sports Information Director, November 10, 2011 | Volleyball
by Dan Lukes, dan.lukes@snc.edu, (920) 403-4077

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - St. Norbert College put up a hard-nosed defensive effort but fell in three sets to the defending NCAA Division III national champion Calvin College in a first-round NCAA Tournament match at the Great Lakes Regional.

The Green Knights fell to the No. 1-ranked Knights 25-14, 25-19, 25-20 in front of 977 fans at Van Noord Arena. St. Norbert ends its season 26-8 after its seventh NCAA Tournament appearance.

St. Norbert had a tough time handling Calvin's potent offense early, with the host hitting .429 in the first set. Calvin (32-0), which entered the tournament with the top hitting percentage in Division III volleyball at .325, jumped out to an early 12-4 lead in the first set and never trailed by less than eight the rest of the set.

The Green Knights fell behind 5-0 in the second set but rebounded to take a 10-9 lead on a Breanne Brocker service ace. The two sides were tied at 15-15, and St. Norbert trailed 19-17 before a 4-0 Calvin run gained the home team some separation.

St. Norbert had another slow start in the third set, trailing 8-1, but slowly charged back to eventually tie the set at 19-19. But Calvin went on a 5-0 run from there to take a 24-19 lead and close out the hard-fought match.

St. Norbert hit .033 (29-25-120) in the match but had 51 digs to hold off Calvin's offense as much as possible. Brocker finished with nine kills for the Green Knights, while Heidi Spies and Alex Bresser had five kills apiece. Catherine Guido finished with 16 digs, while Brocker had 11. Abby West totaled 16 assists, and Remy had three blocks.

Calvin hit .302 (42-10-106), and got 15 kills from Erin VanderPlas and 10 from Rebecca Kemp. Megan Rietema totaled 38 assists, and Kelly Gordon had 22 digs.