Ella de Jong—Staff Writer
The nerves start to tingle. The players’ blood pressure begins to rise and excitement swells in the locker room. This is not the DeWitt. This is not Iowa. This is not the Midwest. The Dordt Volleyball team is in Idaho about to play their first game against Eastern Oregon University, a highly ranked team that played in Nationals last April.
“We kind of went together, got really hyped before the game,” said Grace Langemeier, a sophomore outside hitter. “It was a lot of fun and we just had a lot of energy.”
The Dordt Women’s Volleyball team flew into Idaho on Thursday, Aug. 26, to compete in the Fall Classic, held at the College of Idaho this year. The team played four games during a two-day span over Friday and Saturday. Their competitors consisted of Eastern Oregon University, Carroll College, University of Montana Western, and the College of Idaho. The Defenders came out on top – beating every team at the tournament – in order to start off their season with an undefeated record, including their games against Morningside on Aug. 25 and Briar Cliff on Sept. 1.
“I’m very happy with how the team is starting off,” Langemeier said. “Just being 6-0 right now is a great blessing.”
But this record was not easy to create and maintain. The volleyball team played their closest game against Eastern Oregon University. The Defenders barely took the first set with a 25-23 win. Eastern Oregon University took the next two and then Dordt had the fourth. The fifth set ended with a kill by Jessi Franken, a senior middle blocker, and an error by Eastern Oregon to end the game with a score of 16-14.
“This match had many exciting rallies and showcased two high quality teams that are still figuring themselves out in the early preseason,” said Coach Chad Hanson, Dordt’s head volleyball coach.
The Defenders did not lack fans at their games in Idaho either. Recent graduates and alumni from Idaho and Utah came to support the Dordt volleyball team. De Jong said, a recent graduate of Dordt’s online master’s education program, brought goodie bags to the girls in their hotel room upon arrival. Cloverdale United Reformed Church provided lunch for the team after the morning church service the team attended on Sunday.
“I think a lot of the girls had no idea that there were that many people in Idaho that were Dordt alumni or supporters,” said Debra de Jong.
De Jong and her family attended the Saturday night game against the local college. About 50 other Dordt supporters sat in the stands to cheer on the Defenders with them.
“I thought their defense was amazing that game,” de Jong said.
Erica Bousema, the senior libero, received the title of GPAC Defender of the Week after her play in Idaho and against Morningside. She recorded a high of 36 digs against Eastern Oregon and 29 in the Morningside game.
The Defenders started off their season strong, but it’s only the beginning. With goals in place for this season, the Women’s team is moving forward.
“We have this thing called four plus,” Langemeier said. “We’re trying to just have each of us building relationships with each other outside of school and on the court,”
Langemeier is excited for this season and to grow closer to her teammates.