by Alan Babbitt
The newly ranked Hope College volleyball team did not rest on its laurels during its first appearance at DeVos Fieldhouse this season.
The Flying Dutch topped both Kalamazoo College and Adrian College 3-0 on Friday at the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Preview Tournament.
Hope rose from unranked to 20th in this week's American Volleyball Coaches Association NCAA Division III poll after winning three matches last weekend, including two against nationally ranked opponents.
Now 5-0 overall, the Flying Dutch conclude the two-day MIAA Preview Tournament on Saturday with matches against Albion College and Finlandia University.
Photo of Emily Farwell returning an Adrian shot by Lynne Powe
Hope recorded a .319 team hitting percentage combined in victories against Kalamazoo (25-16, 25-17, 25-19) and Adrian (25-15, 25-22, 25-22).
"I felt like we were much more efficient much more consistently today than we have seen our team be," head coach Becky Schmidt said. "I liked some of the offensive variety we were seeing. I think our offense is really coming along."
Senior outside hitter Katie Rietberg of Holland, Michigan (West Ottawa HS) topped the Flying Dutch with 30 kills: 16 against Adrian and 14 against Kalamazoo. She finished with a .323 hitting percentage on the day.
"Katie is playing like she wants to make the most out of her senior season, as are the rest of the seniors," Schmidt said. "They're stepping up from a leadership perspective and making the most out of the year so far. There's a lot of season left and a lot of growth that this team needs to embrace to reach its potential. Their potential is really high. I really like the progress we're seeing."
Freshman McKenna Otto of Wheaton, Illinois (Wheaton North) collected a career-high 12 kills on a .579 hitting clip against Adrian.
Junior outside hitter Ryann Stutz of Kalamazoo, Michigan (Parchment) chipped in eight kills against Kalamazoo.
Freshman Tracy Westra of Clarendon Hills, Illinois (Trinity Christian) totaled a team-best 44 assists on Friday, including a career-high 23 against Adrian.