Calvin Knights perspective: hosting the NCAA DIII Women’s Volleyball Championships

In many ways, all four years of a college experience build up to senior year.

For us, Calvin College is no longer a place we come for classes and extracurricular activities, but it has evolved into a mixture of communities and experiences that shape our everyday lives.

We remember coming in as a freshman, classically clueless and disconnected from the Calvin circles, without any idea of who Dr. Jim Timmer (Co-Director of Athletics) or Jodie (Jodie Bird, Athletics Department Administrative Assistant) or Justin (Justin TeBrake, Facilities Manager) were – or any other name casually dropped by returning players.

After four years though, the people who work here have become an integral part of our college experience, and we are very thankful for the part they play. Spoelhof Fieldhouse is a second home for everything except sleeping – it’s where we work out, study, and grow community (and steal M & M’s and coffee from Coach’s office ;).

Coming in as freshmen, we were aware that Calvin won and would host the NCAA Division III Women’s Volleyball Championships with the West Michigan Sports Commission on our home turf for both the 2015 and 2017 seasons – our sophomore and senior years. The anticipation gave us plenty to dream about, but in reality we knew it would be a fight to survive and advance far enough to make the top eight teams either of these seasons. This was a challenge we never took lightly.

In the 2015 season, our hopes were abruptly ended when we lost in the Regional Finals to the team we had beaten the previous year. The following week was challenging, to put it lightly. Not to mention the night of the finals when we watched confetti fall onto the NCAA sport court that covered our floor.

Missing this experience definitely added a motivating factor to the subsequent seasons, especially given that this year, the finals returned to Van Noord Arena. Now that we’ve made it to the tournament, we’re incredibly excited to have the opportunity to play in front of family, friends, and the community that we’ve become a part of at Calvin. There’s extra excitement since this tournament involves events and activities throughout Grand Rapids that will simulate a traveling experience—something that makes Nationals so special.

Regardless of the outcome of this week, we feel blessed to have the opportunity to play at home, surrounded by our community, while still retaining the unique aspects of the National Tournament.

The West Michigan Sports Commission and Calvin College are hosting the NCAA DIII Women’s Volleyball Championships Nov. 16 – 18 at Calvin College’s Van Noord Arena. Tickets can be purchased here or at the box office.

Tessa Van Laare & Megan Van Solkema
Guest Blogger
Tessa & Megan are Seniors on the Calvin College Volleyball Team.

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