by Alan Babbitt
Twenty-eight kills in a match Saturday put Katie Rietberg in the Hope College volleyball record books.
They also propelled the 20th-ranked Flying Dutch past Albion College in four sets during their toughest challenge in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Preview Tournament.
Hope won 29-27, 25-20, 18-25, 25-13 before finishing the day and the two-day tournament at DeVos Fieldhouse with a 25-6, 25-9, 25-15 victory against Finlandia University.
Coach Becky Schmidt's are now 7-0 overall after winning four matches Friday and Saturday.
The 28 kills tied the Hope record for kills in matches played with a 25-point set. Rietberg, pictured, matched Jacie Fielder (2009) and Jenna Grasmeyer (2012) despite playing in one fewer set than them.
Eight of Rietberg's kills against Albion (4-3) came during the final set.
Rietberg recorded a .365 hitting percentage against the Britons. She had only three attacking errors in 65 attempts.
Rietberg played sparingly against winless Finlandia and totaled only one kill on three attacks. Still, she finished the tournament with 59 kills and a .329 hitting percentage.
"It seemed every time we needed Katie in the Albion match, she stepped up," Schmidt said of her senior outside hitter from Holland, Michigan (West Ottawa HS). "She's just stronger. She's in the best condition of her career. She worked hard this offseason in order to make the most of this year."
Against Finlandia, all 16 Hope players saw action and nine of them recorded at least one kill.
"We were trying different lineups and options that we've been knocking around in our heads. It was fun to see that come to fruition," Schmidt said. "As deep as we have been this season, in terms of playing different people and working different lineups, we've still got a number of people who haven't gotten playing time who absolutely deserve it. It was nice to be able to get them a little more time and to show everybody in the stands what our practices are like every single day."