Volleyball Avenges Earlier Loss, Defeats Thomas More in Four Sets

by Eva Dean Folkert

Katie Rietberg posed for portrait in uniform. Grace Ditzenberger poses for a portrait in uniform. The No. 16 Hope College volleyball team avenged a three-set loss that they suffered at the hands of No. 7 Thomas More (Kentucky) College two weeks ago by defeating the Saints in four sets on Friday. The Flying Dutch dropped the first set but then rallied to take the last three with scores of 21-25, 25-21, 25-23, and 25-17, at the Midwest Invitational hosted by Calvin College.

The win gives Hope an overall record of 18-4. Thomas More lost for just the second time this season and now stands at 19-2.

The Flying Dutch's offense was well distributed in the match as three Hope players recorded double-digit kills. Senior Katie Rietberg of Holland (West Ottawa), pictured right, led the way with 14 kills while freshman McKenna Otto of Wheaton, Illinois (Wheaton West) and sophomore Ana Grunewald of Grand Rapids (East Grand Rapids HS) added 12 kills each. Senior Grace Ditzenberger of Centennial, Colorado (Chaparral HS) added eight kills on Hope's highest hitting percentage of the night with .375.

As a team, Hope out-hit Thomas More slightly percentage-wise, .195 to .156, and had 17 more kills (59-42).

Also at the net, setters sophomore Adair Cutler of East Lansing (Lansing Christian) and freshman Tracy Westra of Clarendon Hills, Illinois (Timothy Christian) tallied 26 and 22 assists, respectively.

Defensively, the Flying Dutch executed 20 more digs than the Saints (75-55). As they did on offense, Hope's defense was balanced too with three Flying Dutch digging up double figures: junior Gabbi Vachon of Grand Rapids (Jenison HS) had 22 digs, Grunewald with 16, and senior Emily Farwell of Lowell (Forest Hills Central) with 12.

Ditzenberger, pictured left, added strong defensive stats to her offensive ones by having a hand in 10 of Hope's 11 team blocks. 

Hope continues non-league play in the Midwest Invitational tomorrow in Grand Rapids. The Flying Dutch take on No. 19 Ohio Northern, winners over Hope in three sets earlier this season, at 1:00 p.m. Then at 3:30 p.m., Hope plays Susquehanna (Pennsylvania) University.

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