by Alan Babbitt
Vanessa Reynhout provided the 13th-ranked Hope College volleyball team the disruptor it needed against a challenging Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association foe.
The senior middle hitter from Freeport, Michigan (Lakewood HS) played an integral role in the Flying Dutch's 25-19, 25-22, 25-20 victory against 10-win Alma College on Tuesday at DeVos Fieldhouse.
Reynhout, pictured at right, totaled a season-high 12 kills with a .375 kill percentage. She delivered five of her kills during the first set of the MIAA opener after the Scots jumped out to a 7-3 lead.
Head coach Becky Schmidt said Reynhout was critical to creating hitting lanes as the match progressed against a sound Alma defense.
"As the match started and went on, Alma's defense was really, really good," Schmidt said. "The balls we were setting to the pins — when they had time to be able to get their defensive positioning and get a good read — they were making a lot of those digs. We needed to get them off-balance.
"Vanessa was making herself available. She's got a quick arm swing, and she was able to get that up and attack a lot of balls that Alma's defense wasn't able to get set for. We started to get them out of the rhythm, then we could get more opportunities for our pins to be able to attack."
Outside hitter Katie Rietberg of Holland, Michigan (West Ottawa HS) topped the Flying Dutch with 15 kills. All but two of the kills came after the first set.
Freshman middle hitter McKenna Otto of Wheaton, Illinois (North HS) chipped in seven kills, while sophomore outside hitter Rose Thompson of Coopersville, Michigan (Hudsonville Unity Christian) added six.
Hope improved to 11-1 overall and 1-0 in MIAA play. The Flying Dutch moved up four spots in 13th in this week's American Volleyball Coaches Association NCAA Division III poll.
Alma dropped to 10-2 overall and 0-1 in league action.
The Flying Dutch's next match is Saturday at 7 p.m. at top-ranked Calvin College.