by Alan Babbitt
The 13th-ranked Hope College volleyball team renews The Rivalry with top-ranked Calvin College tonight at 7 in Grand Rapids.
This is the 99th meeting in the series. Hope trails 68-30. Calvin has won the past five meetings dating back to the 2016 season.
The Flying Dutch are off to an 11-1 start, including a 1-0 mark in Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association play after winning Tuesday's league opener at home vs. Alma College in three sets. Hope has won four matches in a row.
The current Hope win streak started with a five-set victory against the University of Mary Washington (Virginia) at the Wittenberg University (Ohio) Fall Classic on September 14 after the Flying Dutch were swept by then 20th-ranked Ohio Northern in the tournament's first match.
Hope and Calvin are scheduled to play twice this season, but tonight's match is the one that counts toward the MIAA standings after the MIAA went to a single-round format to determine the league champion. The October 26 rematch at DeVos Fieldhouse will be considered a non-league game.
Photo by Jenna VanderLaan by Steven Herppich
Head coach Becky Schmidt is in her 14th season leading the Flying Dutch. She has a 381-98 career coaching record at her alma mater. She led Hope to its first national championship in volleyball in 2014.
The Flying Dutch were unranked in the American Volleyball Coaches Association Division III poll to start the season. They have risen since the preseason rankings, appearing 20th and 17th before their current position of 13th.
Senior outside hitter Katie Rietberg ranks fifth in the nation at 4.33 kills per set. Calvin's Anna Kamp is seventh at 4.31. Rietberg and Kamp are 1-2 in the MIAA in kills per set. This is Rietberg's first season as a full-rotation hitter. She played primarily in the front row during her career.
Katie Rietberg tied the Hope College record for kills in matches played with a 25-point set during a four-set win against Alma College on Friday, September 8 during the MIAA Preview Tournament co-hosted by Hope. The 28 kills were the most by the Flying Dutch player in a four-set match played with a 25-point set.
Vanessa Reynhout ranks third in the MIAA at 0.96 blocks per set. Calvin's Sydney Segard is first at 1.22.
McKenna Otto is tied for 30th in the nation in hitting percentage at .382. She is the sister of former Hope men's basketball player Sam Otto (2013-16).
Calvin coach Amber Warners was Hope's interim coach in the 1994 season and led the Flying Dutch to a 21-11 record. She became the Knights' head volleyball coach and has guided Calvin to a 498-73 record and three national championships during her tenure.