Caleb Pollema — Staff Writer
The final match or game to any regular season sport’s schedule is always an important one as the team tries to build momentum heading into the postseason or offseason.
Regardless of how the season has gone, it is one last chance to give it your all as an athlete with the hopes of coming out on top one final time.
On October 27 the Defender women’s volleyball team had this opportunity against their rival, Northwestern.
Coming off five straight wins, Dordt was eager to finish their season with one last victory to conclude the season.
Up to this point, Northwestern had only lost one regular season match. Another game against the Defenders in early October where Dordt swept the Raiders in three straight sets in Orange City.
Dordt got off to the same hot start as they did in the teams’ first matchup by an early 10-4 lead. However, the Raiders rallied to tie the set at 19. Led by a series of kills from Corrina Timmermans and Jessi De Jager, the Defenders won the set, 25-22.
Dordt kept the momentum rolling with an early 9-5 lead in the second set. However, Northwestern rallied again to take the lead 18-21 after an eight-point Red Raider run.
This propelled Northwestern to a set two victory by a final of 22-25.
After splitting the first two sets, the third set went back and forth with runs from both sides. Northwestern started off the set with a 5-1 lead, but Dordt battled back by rattling off eight straight points.
Dordt led the match 18-12, but Northwestern rallied, scoring eight of the next ten points to tie the set at 20-20. The Defenders took a 24-22 lead after another kill from Timmermans, but Northwestern would tie the set at 24.
In extra points, Alli Timmermans and Brenna Krommendyk combined for a block to give Dordt a one-point advantage. The Defenders won the set by a final of 26-24 with a kill from Alli Timmermans.
After a big win in the third set, the Defenders continued to build off the momentum with a 16-10 lead in the fourth set. The Northwestern attack would not get much closer as the Defenders rallied to win the set and the match.
“We showed great focus and persistence tonight in the pinnacle match of our regular season,” said head women’s volleyball coach, Chad Hanson. “To wrap up with a sixth consecutive match win against a strong Northwestern team was really exciting. This Dordt team grew so much over the course of our season and managed this match in on-court strategy and decision making. What a joy to watch them play.”
The night ended with a conference sweep of their rivals and a six-game winning streak to close out the regular season. For the seniors playing their final game at home in the DeWitt, the night was pretty much perfect.
“[You] couldn’t have written it out better,” said senior libero, Hannah Connelly. “To compete and feel confident in our system as a capstone to the regular season was such an amazing feeling.”
With the regular season in the books, the Defenders will wait for the rest of GPAC play to wrap up since Dordt finished earlier than most schools, due to COVID-19 schedule changes.
COVID-19 has also changed the postseason structure for NAIA volleyball. The Defenders will compete in the GPAC conference tournament in the spring, which will then determine if they get a bid to the national tournament in late April.
With a unique offseason ahead, the Defenders are excited to build off the momentum of their six-game regular season winning streak as they prepare for the postseason to come in a few months.