The No. 18-ranked Hope College volleyball squad traveled to Elmhurst College in Illinois this past weekend for the Elmhurst Invitational. The Flying Dutch saw some of their most formidable competition of the year, with Elmhurst hosting No. 5-ranked Colorado College and No. 1-ranked Calvin College, among others. The Dutch did not meet rival Calvin at this invitational, instead playing Illinois Wesleyan and Colorado College on day one and Aurora University and host Elmhurst on day two.
The first day of tournament play proved to be a challenge for the Dutch, who dropped two four-set matches in a row, first to Illinois Wesleyan and then to Colorado College. Illinois Wesleyan defeated the Dutch 25- 18, 23-25, 25-23, 25-18. The Dutch put up a fight against the Wesleyan in every set, but fell short due to a weak hitting performance. Hope’s offense aver- aged just a .153 kill percentage, with several hitters averaging negative percentages. Bright spots included a 1.000 average for libero Mallory Luke (’18), who had one kill off one attempt, and a .500 average from Grace Ditzenberger (’19), who had 10 kills on 20 attempts. The Dutch then faced off against Colorado College. The Dutch held their own throughout the match, but fell in four hotly contested sets, 25-22, 23-25, 24-26, 20-25. Katie Rietberg (’19) claimed 15 kills to lead the offense in the loss.
The Dutch looked to rebound from their 0-2 start to the tournament on day two as they took on Aurora and Elmhurst. And rebound they did, sweep-both teams 3-0. Aurora had defeated Calvin the day before, and entered the match with Hope confidently, but the Dutch claimed a three-set victory, 25- 20, 25-18, 25-19. Reitberg led the way for Hope with nine kills on 19 attempts, while setter Sophie Hackett (‘18) had 30 assists and Luke had 11 digs. Hope kept the momentum going as they took on host Elmhurst College in their final game of the tournament. The Dutch earned a victory in three sets, 25-21, 25-21, 25-11. Haley Muller (’18) had 10 kills and three aces in the win, while Hackett had 22 assists and Luke had 15 digs.
Hope ended the tournament on a high note, finishing 2-2 and moving to 8-4 on the season and ready to take on a week full of MIAA matchups. The Dutch are 4-0 in the league, having defeated Trine, Olivet, Adrian, and St. Mary’s. They will face off against three more league opponents this week—Alma at home Tuesday, Sept. 19 at 6:30 p.m., Kalamazoo on the road Friday, Sept. 22 at 7 p.m. and Calvin at DeVos Fieldhouse on Saturday, Sept. 23 at 5 p.m.