No. 2 Hope Volleyball Rallies Past No. 18 Otterbein For Regional Final Berth
Sophomore Lauren Hazekamp sprinted toward the scorer's table on the opposite side of her net, then flipped the ball back over her head.
Her timely save kept the ball in play for the Hope volleyball team, so that the Flying Dutch could earn match point on an Otterbein (Ohio) hitting error.
On the second match point, senior Mari Schoolmaster buried a kill to secure a 20-25, 25-15, 25-21, 25-22 win for second-ranked Hope and a berth in Saturday's Great Lakes Regional Final.
The Flying Dutch (31-2 overall) are one win from clinch a spot in the NCAA Division III Women's Volleyball Championship they are hosting next week at DeVos Fieldhouse.
"When she made that play," Hope coach Becky Schmidt said of her sophomore from Fruitport (Fruitport HS), "I felt very confident we were going to have some really good things happen in the next few points just because she's able to go on some of these runs with just her will. She's a gamer."
Hope will face regional host and fifth-ranked Elmhurst in a 7 p.m. CST final. The Flying Dutch defeated both teams earlier this season.
No. 18 Otterbein closed with a 27-8 record.
Hazekamp said her drive led her to make a gutsy and successful retrieval of an errant dig.
"I really don't like to lose. I knew it would have been a momentum shift," Hazekamp said. "My team will tell me if it's too dangerous for something to get. I could hear them cheering me on to get it. I felt confident. I just really didn't want that play to end."
Senior Courtney Earles of Kentwood (East Kentwood HS) said Hazekamp's dig gave the Flying Dutch the final push they needed to clinch their second regional final in school history and first since 2009.
"It's easy to feel a lot of pressure at the point of the match like that," Earles said. "We were trying to stay calm, but that got us excited. We knew if we could do that we could win these next (two) points."
Junior Jenna Grasmeyer of Jenison (Hudsonville Unity Christian HS) topped Hope with 18 kills. Earles finished with nine.
Hazekamp, who's in her first season as a starter, recorded a match-high 39 assists. She also was second with 15 digs and tied for second with 1 ½ blocks.
"I've watched Lauren for a long time before she came to Hope. I knew with her we were getting a winner," Schmidt said. "She just puts her team in positions to be successful. That's exactly what I want out of a setter. I don't need somebody who's left-handed and 6-foot-2 … because she's not. But she makes things happen."
The Flying Dutch needed every play to grind out a win against a team they swept earlier this season.
Hope hit .170 as a team while Otterbein finished .007.
Post-game press conference is below.