Christian Zylstra-Staff Writer
Success is determined not by those around you, but by the goals you set for yourself and achieve. For the Dordt Defenders volleyball team, this season was more than a success: it was a triumph.
“Coming into the season, it was always our goal to make it to nationals, and we exceeded that goal by making it past pool play,” said senior Lindsey Floen, Dordt’s middle blocker.
In fact, for the first time since the 2003-04 season, the Defenders made it out of pool play and into the elimination rounds.
Only the best in the nation make it to nationals, which means the journey is tough and long, but well worth the effort in the end.
“The top 24 teams make it to nationals and to say that you are one of those top teams is something special,” said senior Kayla Broekhuis, the Defender defensive specialist. “Nationals was a proud moment for all of us as we love to represent Dordt and to see the name Dordt wherever we went.”
Dordt defeated Cardinal Stritch three sets to one in their opening round match at home, earning the Defenders a place in the 24-team field in Sioux City, Iowa. Freshman Brooke Wolterstorff and sophomore Jenna Horstman led the squad with 15 kills apiece in the game.
Pool play started off with a tough match against 10th-ranked Lindsey Wilson, but Dordt battled and won the match in five sets as Wolterstorff delivered 17 kills.
A difficult three-set loss to No. 3 Biola the next day brought up a critical win-or-go-home match against Indiana Wesleyan.
The Defenders won in four sets to advance out of pool play. The match featured a dramatic fourth set in which Dordt won 28-26 to clinch a berth in the elimination round. Sophomore Meghan Krausman dealt 14 kills.
“First, our goal was to beat Cardinal Stritch,” said senior Jocelyn Bousema, one of Dordt’s defensive specialists. “Next was to make it out of pool play, something that was not expected of us. We were the third-ranked team in our pool of four teams and only the top two teams make it out. We played some great games against Lindsey Wilson and Indiana Wesleyan University to make it out of pool play.”
Dordt moved on to the knockout round, which featured a dozen teams battling in single-elimination format. Reaching that point is an honor that an entire team can be proud of.
“We pushed ourselves more in practice, put in extra time and fought hard in games in order to make our goals happen,” Broekhuis said. “Not every team can say they achieved the high goals they set before them, but our team can say we achieved it and got so much more than we hoped for in the process.”
While Dordt fell 3-1 to the hands of Wayland Baptist in their first elimination-round match, the squad’s three seniors are extremely proud of their team and all that they accomplished. The list of things they will miss is endless.
“What won’t I miss is a better question,” Bousema said. “I’ll miss everything. I already miss my teammates; I just spent the majority of the last five days with them.”
“Without a doubt, I can easily say I will miss the support from family and fans that Dordt has,” Broekhuis said. “Never before have I felt so loved from such a wide community. We have fans from all over the country cheering us on. We really do form a big volleyball family, and I love it.”
The team will dwell on the success it had this season, but can look forward to a return to nationals and improve even more next year.