Regals Finish as National Runner-Up
CLU concludes season with best record in history
HOLLAND, Mich. – The goal of the 2013 Cal Lutheran volleyball team was to play on the final day of the season. Tonight the Regals earned that opportunity and played the hearts out, leaving everything they had on the court. Unfortunately, CLU fell 3-2 (25-20, 25-12, 22-25, 17-25, 18-20) in five tremendous sets to Calvin as the Knights were crowned National champions while the Regals will return to Southern California, after two whirlwind weeks, as the NCAA Division III runner-up.
Cal Lutheran won the first two sets convincingly, but Calvin used a 10-minute intermission to make some adjustments and the ball bounced their way in the final game that went far beyond the 15-points needed to seal a set.
The final match of the 2013 NCAA Division III Volleyball Tournament at the DeVos Fieldhouse on the campus of Hope College featured two completely different styles of volleyball and was as great of a championship environment as possible with a sold out crowd of 3,356.
It was a road home match for the Knights who brought in more than 750 students from 40 minutes away. The energy and noise level was high from the get-go and was continuous throughout, but the noise did not defer the Regals who made a sincere run at knocking off Calvin.
In the final match of her collegiate playing days Kylie McLogan went out with a career match that included 28 kills and 26 digs, both led all players, as she shared the digs lead with teammate Nicki Tetherow,who turned in her second consecutive stand-out performance. Allie Eason was next in line for the Regals in both kills (17) and digs (23). The senior duo of Hayley Tamagni and Lauren Rohach recorded 11 and 12 kills, respectively, with one and six block assists to close out her career. Jackie Russell, whose career also came to an end tonight, handed out a match-high 58 assists, adding four block assists and 14 digs as one of five CLU players in double figures. Pua Mo’okini-Oliveira contributed 15 digs and four kills.
The Regals came out hot at the net, combing for 4.5 total blocks in the first set behind four blocking assists from Lauren Rohach, who also contributed offensively with four kills. CLU combined to hit at a .316 clip in the opening game. At 2-2, CLU went on an 8-2 run to open a 10-4 advantage, forcing Calvin to use a timeout at the 7-4 mark. The Knights burned another timeout at 19-15 in favor of CLU, but the Regals came out of the huddle to earn four of the next five points. A Russell kill pushed the score to 24-17.
Unable to convert back-to-back set points as the Knights closed the gap to 24-20, Roesel burned a timeout to gather her team. After the quick break the Violet and Gold returned to the court to finish what they started with a kill from Rohach to put Cal Lutheran ahead 1-0.
Cal Lutheran wasted no time in the second and cruised to a 25-12 win, seemingly converting at will while holding Calvin to a .105 hitting percentage with just eight kills. McLogan, who had just two kills in the opening set, tallied seven to lead the Regals in the second as the collective unit hit .342 to match the first set’s production of 15 kills.
Calvin used the 10 minute intermission to its advantage as they challenged the Regals even more than they had the first two games. Despite CLU putting down 18 kills in the game, it was the Knights that stole the third to stay alive in the match. After a CLU timeout at 15-13, Eason executed for the ensuing point, but the Regals would never regain the momentum they had in the first two games. Late in the set, Eason and McLogan used back-to-back kills to pull within a pair at 18-16 and were again within two at 20-18 and 23-21. Rohach kept the dream alive with a kill to pull things to 24-22, but Maggie Kamp notched a kill following the longest rally of the game, as Calvin took the set 25-22, cutting the CLU lead in half.
The same loud crowd that showed up for the start of the match returned for Calvin in the fourth. What seemed to be miscommunication or inability to hear one another CLU gave up a pair of points and Roesel pulled her team in to talk things over. The mishaps continued as Calvin built an 11-4 advantage. After a second timeout McLogan put down a kill, but the teams would follow by exchanging points. Trailing by eight with Mo’okini-Oliveira serving, the Regals chipped away as Eason and Rohach notched kills, forcing Calvin called to use a timeout at 17-11. The Violet and Gold would get the deficit back to three-points, but CC earned the final four points, capped off with a service ace from Elise Biesboer to even the opponents at two games apiece.
In the fifth and final set, the teams did not play to the necessary 15 points, they went far above as each was worthy of clinching the championship. A McLogan kill started things off and the Regals would go on to open a 10-6 lead by way of a Tamagni kill. Once again a Calvin timeout calmed the Knights as they reeled off eight of the next 10 points to earn an advantage. With fantastic displays of athleticism on both sides of the court, it came down to the slimmest of margins for CLU as Calvin recorded the final two points of the night and season on kills from Ellie Diepersloot and a well-placed tip from Megan Rietema to steal the title from the Regals.
Calvin (35-1) was paced by 27 kills from Maggie Kamp with Diepersloot representing the only other Knights player in double figures with 12. Rietema, the 2013 AVCA Player of the Year, handed out 49 assists with five kills, an ace and two block assists to go along with 23 digs, sharing the team-high with Kristen Zietse.
The Cal Lutheran (35-2) season has come to a close and while it was not the ending that the team had hoped for, there is a lot to be proud of as 2013 was strewn with milestones. The 35-2 showing was the best in school history and this team matched the greatest NCAA performance in CLU history by equaling the 1995 team that was also national runner-up in this tournament. Numerous single-season and all-time marks were reached as well.
Box Score: CALVIN 3, CLU 2
Tournament Central: 2013 NCAA Division III Volleyball Tournament
Bracket: 2013 NCAA Division III Volleyball Tournament Bracket
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