by Eva Dean Folkert
More than a week removed from its last contest, the Hope College volleyball team returned to competition in DeVos Fieldhouse and dispatched Kalamazoo College quickly in straight sets, 25-15, 25-19, 25-16.
The Flying Dutch raised their MIAA record to 2-1 with a 12-4 overall mark. The Hornets slipped to 0-4 in the league and are 10-9 overall.
Hope started the match a bit out of sync in its serve-receive execution, falling behind to Kalamazoo on four different occasions by two points early. But with the score tied 9-9 on the first set, the Flying Dutch went on a six-point run to move to 15-9. With some separation created, Hope continued to apply service and net pressure for the 10-point, first-set win.
The next two sets mirrored the first somewhat: Down just a couple points early to the Hornets, the Flying Dutch collected themselves and went on long point runs to cruise away from their opponent.
"I was really happy once the ball got past the serve-and-pass game and we got into our offense," said head coach Becky Schmidt. "I felt like our setters did a nice job of running our offense, I felt like our hitters did a nice job of taking care of the ball. I felt like our block did a nice job of frustrating their hitters. We put them in some difficult hitting positions that resulted in some errors."
This match stats bears out that last Schmidt comment: The Flying Dutch forced the Hornets into a negative hitting percentage (-.085) while they tallied .289 at the net. Hope totaled 33 kills while Kalamazoo had 16.
Sophomore Ana Grunewald of Grand Rapids (East Grand Rapids HS) and senior Ryann Stutz of Kalamazoo (Parchment HS), pictured above, led Hope in kills with seven apiece while sophomore McKenna Otto of Wheaton, Ill. (Wheaton North HS) added six. Stutz recorded the best kill percentage with .667.
Leading in other statistical categories were senior Jenna VanderLaan of Grand Rapids (South Christian HS) with nine digs; senior Gabbi Vachon of Grand Rapids (Jenison HS) had five services aces; freshman Charlotte Brecht of Grosse Pointe Farms (Grosse Pointe South HS) with five blocks; and, junior Adair Cutler of East Lansing (Lansing Christian) tallied 12 assists.
Hope is home again on Saturday, October 12 for One Big Weekend in DeVos Fieldhouse. The Flying Dutch take on Trine University at 1 p.m.