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Fall sports wrap up

By Mike Byker

Volleyball

The Defender volleyball team rebounded from a 9-8 start to their season by ripping off a pair of eight-match winning streaks as part of a run where they went 19-2 and earned a spot in the NAIA Region III volleyball tournament with a Great Plains Athletic Conference post-season tournament championship.

The run to the title included wins on the road over Briar Cliff and nationally-rated Hastings and Northwestern. The wins over Hastings and Northwestern avenged regular season losses. Dordt finished their season with a 28-11 record.

Lindsey Van Wyk capped her volleyball career at Dordt College by earning all-GPAC first-team honors.

Van Wyk averaged 3.7 kills per game and was in the lineup for all 576 games of the 168 matches the Defenders played during her career. She piled up 2569 career digs and 183 ace serves as Dordt went 142-26 in matches during her four-years on the team. Van Wyk, a Grinnell, Iowa, native, appeared in four NAIA regional tournaments and three NAIA national tournaments.

Kristin De Ronde, a sophomore from Oskaloosa, Iowa, was named first-team all-GPAC and second team all-Region III while leading the Defenders in kills with 4.7 and a kill efficiency of .287. The middle blocker also had 117 blocks this season.

Emily Van Voorst, a junior from Rock Valley, Iowa, earned second team all-GPAC honors after averaging 10.3 assists and 2.6 digs, and Traci Kooima, a senior from Rock Valley, Iowa, earned all-GPAC honorable mention after averaging 6.0 digs and earning NAIA national libero of the week honors this season.

Coach Tom Van Den Bosch also earned a lifetime honor by being inducted into the Iowa High School volleyball coachís Hall of Fame in late November in a ceremony at Carroll, Iowa.

Scholar-athlete honors for volleyball had not been released at the writing of this article.

Womenís Soccer

Suzanne Clark

Suzanne Clark

The womenís soccer team advanced to the NAIA Regional tournament level for the sixth year in a row before their season came to an end in the semifinal round of the NAIA Region III tournament. The Defenders were led by Suzanne Clark, who earned All-Great Plains Athletic Conference honors for the second year in a row. The senior from Elm Grove, Wisconsin, was a third-team NAIA all-American in 2005. The national honor teams have not yet been released by the NAIA for this year.

Clark leaves Dordt College in the top-15 all-time in points scored and is sixth all-time in assists. Clark is the first Dordt College womenís soccer player to earn all-American honors, and she was a part of a Dordt defense that posted seven shutouts this season.

Also earning post-season honors for the 8-10-1 Defenders was Kate Du Mez. The freshman from Brookfield, Wisconsin, scored five goals and assisted on seven for the Defenders, earning all-GPAC second team honors. Lisa Groen, a junior from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, also earned all-GPAC honorable mention for her work on defense this season.

Post-season honors for the Defenders included NAIA scholar-athlete recognition for Abbie Soodsma, a senior from Hudsonville, Michigan, and Karissa Phelps, a senior from Holland, Michigan.

The Defenders posted a 7-5 conference record this season under Dr. William Elgersma in his fifth year of coaching the Defender womenís soccer team.

Menís Soccer

The Defender men returned to the NAIA Regional tournament after a one year absence with a 10-8-1 overall record and an 8-4 GPAC record under head coach Craig Stiemsma.

The Defender men won five out of six games from October 7 to October 24 to solidify an invitation in the NAIA Region III tournament. The lone loss in that stretch was to eventual national champion Graceland by a 3-0 score in Lamoni, Iowa.

Ryan Coon

Ryan Coon

Mike Oppeneer, a senior from Hingham, Wisconsin, ended his college career by earning all-GPAC, all-Region, and NAIA honorable mention honors. Oppeneer had seven goals and seven assists this year, ending with 42 career goals, ninth all-time. He also had 20 assists, which gave him 104 total points for his career, seventh all-time.

Ryan Coon, a junior from Thornton, Colorado, also earned all-GPAC, all-Region and NAIA all-American honorable mention honors for the second year in a row. Coon had 10 goals and two assists for the season and has 32 for his career.

Tim Walstra, a sophomore from Muskegon, Michigan, earned second team all-GPAC honors this season while helping the Defenders allow just 1.52 goals per game.

Chad Nibbelink and Bryan Burgers, a pair of seniors from Sioux Center, Iowa, and Sioux Falls, South Dakota, earned honorable mention honors from the GPAC. Burgers was also named an NAIA scholar-athlete along with Brandon Vander Wel and Brett Kroeze. Vander Wel is a native of Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Kroeze is from Hull, Iowa.

Chelsea Gerdes

Chelsea Gerdes

Cross Country

Two Dordt College cross-country runners earned spots in the NAIA national meet in November. Jen Kempers, a junior from Sioux Center, Iowa, placed sixth at the NAIA Region III meet and 34th out of 268 runners at the national meet, covering the 5,000-meter course in a time of 18:40. Chelsea Gerdes, a senior from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, qualified for the national meet for the second year in a row after fighting injury all season. Gerdes placed 17th overall at the NAIA Region III meet and 116th at the national meet.

Joel De Haan

Joel De Haan

In menís running, Joel De Haan, a junior from Wayland, Michigan, was the top menís finisher at the Region III meet in a time of 26:09, which was good for 23rd place. De Haan had earlier finished in the top 15 at the GPAC meet, good for all-GPAC honors.

Connie Du Mez, a Brookfield, Wisconsin, native, Chelsea Gerdes, and Ryan Swanson were all accorded NAIA scholar-athlete honors at the end of the 2006 season.

NAIA scholar-athletes must be a junior or senior, maintain at least a 3.5 cumulative grade point average and be nominated for the honor by their coach.