The Voice: Summer 2001
Softball team earns trip to nationals
Andrea Visser ('02) and Michelle Gruppen ('02)
The Dordt softball team, after posting a regular season record of 28-12, advanced to the NAIA
National Tournament after winning the Region IV championship on May 11. Dordt went 2-1 in
the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) Tournament on May 3, but was rained out on the
second day of the tournament. Dordt and Northwestern of Orange City were declared co-
champions in the inaugural year of GPAC after posting identical conference records of 16-4.
Because the conference tournament was cancelled, teams were chosen for the Region IV
tournament in Bellevue, Nebraska, based on ratings. Dordt and Northwestern were both chosen
to play in the tournament.
After losing the first game to Saint Mary College of Kansas, Dordt fought through the loser's bracket to a championship final game against Northwestern. Double elimination dictated that the Lady Defenders needed to defeat Northwestern twice to win the Region championship, which Dordt did by scores of 2-1, and 1-0. Dordt headed to Decatur, Alabama, from May 18-22 for the national tournament.
Dordt's softball team included one senior, Angie Van Essen, from Hull, Iowa. Van Essen not only holds Dordt softball records in hits, RBIs, singles, and on-base percentages, but she also has an impressive career batting average of .355 and was named Academic All-American in both her junior and senior years, with a GPA of 3.95.
Players named to the GPAC All-Conference team were Darci Bouma, Dawn Van Kley, Michelle Gruppen, Angie Van Essen, and A.J. Poppema. Dordt's Darci Bouma and Dawn Van Kley were named first team NAIA Region IV, and A.J. Poppema, Michelle Gruppen, and Angie Van Essen were named NAIA Region IV second team. Sophomore Dawn Van Kley was named the GPAC pitcher of the year, and the most valuable player for the Region IV tournament.