The Calvin Knights completed a near-perfect season on Saturday for the program’s 3rd NCAA Division III title, adding to ones earned in 2010 and 2013. They put in a 3-0 sweep (25-21, 25-21, 25-21) over cinderella Washington University in St. Louis.
Unsurprisingly, their senior, captain and best player Laura Danhoff was named the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA D3 tournament.
Danhoff, #11 in your scorebooks, had at least 10 kills in every NCAA tournament game aside from the championship (where the Knights spread the scoring load). That included a high of 21 in the elite 8 against Emory, which was the closest to an upset anybody came in the tournament. Combined with 9 total aces and 18 blocks, Danhoff averaged 14.5 kills and almost 18 total points per game during the 6 games of the NCAA tournament for the Knights.
Not to be outdone, her teammates Sarah DeVries and Jenna Lodewyk were also put on the all-tournament team. DeVries was highly efficient during the tournament and hit .400 on 54 kills across 2 weeks of competition. Lodewyk, the team’s primary setter, averaged 38 assists per game, to go with 6 total aces and 46 digs.
The runners-up from WashU ahad a pair of their own named to the all-tournament team. Caroline DuPont was the team’s leading hitter with 3.2/set and a .367 average. That included 21kills in a 3-2 win over Mary Washington in the Elite 8. Julianne Malek wasn’t far behind with 2.8 kills/set, and she chipped in 20 blocks during the tournament as well.
Leesa Hulstrand from University of Northwestern – St. Paul was named as a second setter to the team, averaging 17 assists per game, 5 kills per game, and 3 blocks per game before her team bowed out against the eventual champions in the national semi-finals. Kate Mitchell of Southwestern University in Texas led her team to the other semi-final, including 11 kills/game.
Laura Danhoff (Calvin College) • Most Outstanding Player
Sarah DeVries (Calvin College)
Caroline Dupont (Washington University)
Leesa Hulstrand (University of Northwestern)
Jenna Lodewyk (Calvin College)
Julianne Malek (Washington University)
Kate Mitchell (Southwestern University)