The Voice: Summer 2002

The Voice

Sports updates

Hockey team has great year
By Andrew De Jong

This past year, the Dordt Blades hockey team united players old and new when former Blade Herm Van Niejenhuis signed on to coach the team. The team benefited from Van Niejenhuis’s experience and closed the season with a winning record of 21-14-1.

The players themselves are among the first to recognize Van Niejenhuis’s influence. “Having a coach adds team unity and guidance,” says team captain Nathan Van Niejenhuis. “Herm is very reachable, and he comes to us on our level.”

Goalie Matt Tinsley, from Abbotsford, British Columbia, appreciates the experience Van Niejenhuis brings. “He really brings a lot to the team,” says Tinsley. “He’s got a great knowledge of the game, and his presence does a lot for the team’s reputation.”

The addition of Van Niejenhuis as coach, along with other factors, helped make this year one of the team’s most successful. Captain Nathan Van Niejenhuis says that this year was the most fun he’s had. “It was great because we were winning games,” he says.

It’s the camaraderie that makes playing for the Blades the most fun, say players. James Bentum, from Woodstock, Ontario, says, “The best part is just hanging out with the guys. It’s great enjoying the company of others who like the same sport.”

Leading the team in points was Ryan De Lange from Abbotsford, British Columbia, with ten goals and nine assists, followed by Jordan Heerema from Thunder Bay, Ontario, with seven goals and four assists. But not all team members are from Canada. The team roster also listed players from Colorado, Maine, Iowa, and Michigan.

Men’s Golf
By Mike Byker
Sports Information Director

The Dordt men’s golf team concluded the 2002 portion of their season with a fifth place finish at the Great Plains Athletic Conference meet in Hastings, Nebraska, April 26. The Defenders actually finished just six strokes out of second place in the two-day, 36-hole event.

Mike Roetman and Cody Horstman, a pair of sophomores from Hull, Iowa, led the Defenders at the GPAC meet with scores of 155, while Seniors David Myrdahl (Arcadia, California) and Bryan Altena (Sioux Center, Iowa) both carded 161s and Mike Hoium (Albert Lea, Minnesota) cleared a 164. The GPAC meet was the seventh meet the Defenders played in this spring. This year marked Coach Abe Bos’s 28th as men’s golf coach at Dordt College.

Men’s and Women’s Tennis
By Mike Byker
Sports Information Director

The Dordt women’s tennis season came to a close in the Great Plains Athletic
Conference post-season tournament April 26 with a first round loss to Hastings College 6-3. The Lady Defenders started the season with two straight wins. The season also included back-to-back wins over Sioux Falls late in the season to assure the Lady Defenders of a .500 season.

The 6-6 finish by the Lady Defenders marked a dramatic improvement from a 1-9 match record in 2001, both under Coach Rudy Folkerts. Jodi Blaukamp (Holland, Michigan) was the lone senior on this year’s roster with six of the other seven players being freshmen and sophomores.

The men’s tennis team also concluded their 2002 season with a 1-13 record, ending the year with a first round loss to Midland Lutheran in the Great Plains Athletic Conference tournament. Two seniors completed their careers for the Defenders this spring: Kevin Kingma (Hawarden, Iowa) and Dave Persenaire (Holland Michigan).

By Mike Byker
Sports Information Director

The Dordt baseball team recovered from a sluggish start to place seventh in the Great Plains Athletic Conference regular season race. The Defenders started the season with a 1-12 mark after their trip to Florida but rebounded to play .500 baseball for most of the GPAC season. The Defenders split 11 of their 14 conference doubleheaders on the way to a 13-15 conference mark and a 14-26 overall record. The Defenders were eliminated from a berth in the post-season conference tournament with a final inning loss to the Doane Tigers.

Season highlights included a 13-inning win over the Doane Tigers, along with a conference sweep of Northwestern, one game of which was won on a home run in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Senior Scott Van Andel (Lynden, Washington) earned first team all conferencehonors for the Defenders as a utility infielder. As shortstop for the Defenders, Van Andel batted .262, with four home runs, and knocked in 20 runs. Van Andel committed just nine errors in 120 chances in the field. Van Andel was joined by Zach Vande Griend (freshman, Salem, Oregon) on the first team. Vande Griend was 7-3 on the mound with a 2.58 earned run average while also saving two games for the Defenders. Opponents batted just .240 against the right-hander in 86 2/3 innings of work. Brad Vanden Bosch (freshman, Rock Valley, Iowa) was also accorded special mention by the conference. Vanden Bosch hit for a .287 average with 25 runs batted in.

Van Andel is one of three seniors to finish his career with Dordt College. Beau Bosma (Hospers, Iowa) and Tim Foreman (Orange City, Iowa) were the other seniors to contribute to the Defenders’ success this year. Bosma batted .280 for the season and started all 40 games while Foreman batted .387 in 17 games while splitting catching duties.

The honors didn’t stop with the players. Coach Tom Visker was named the Conference Coach of the Year. Visker, in his 23rd season as head coach, guided the Defenders to a seventh- place finish in the conference after the Defenders were picked for last in the pre-season conference coach’s poll.

By Mike Byker
Sports Information Director

For the third year in a row the Dordt Lady Defender softball team qualified for the Regional Tournament. The Lady Defenders went into the Regional Tournament with a 32-17 record after having won 18 of their last 22 games. The Black and Gold finished second in the regular season Great Plains Athletic Conference title chase with a 16-4 record and finished second at the post-season conference tournament.

Dawn Van Kley (junior, Sioux Center, Iowa) and Darci Wassenaar (senior, Orange City, Iowa) were named First Team All GPAC. Van Kley was 17-7 for the Defenders with a 1.70 earned run average while striking out 119 batters and walking just 27. Wassenaar carried a .329 batting average with a new single season homerun record of six and also knocked in 34 runs, tops for the Lady Defenders.

AJ Lefever (senior, Hospers, Iowa) and Ashley Schuller (sophomore, Ripon, California) were named to the GPAC second team. Lefever led the Defenders with a .352 average and boasted a .904 fielding percentage at shortstop while also knocking in 28 runs and scoring 23. Schuller was 12-7 this season with a 1.92 earned run average in 106 innings pitched. Michelle Gruppen (senior, Zeeland, Michigan), Jessica Wassenaar (junior, Orange City, Iowa) and Katie Bleeker (freshman, Inwood, Iowa) earned All Conference honorable mention status.

Along with Lefever, Wassenaar, and Gruppen, three other seniors played their last games for Dordt. Andrea Visser (Orwell Cove, Prince Edward Island), Erin Bosma (Ireton, Iowa) and Heather Van Kooten (Oskaloosa, Iowa) were regulars for four years for Lady Defenders softball teams that went a combined 108-62 since 1999.

Outdoor Track and Field
By Mike Byker
Sports Information Director

Before the snow was off the ground, the track and field season had moved outside with the Dordt teams participating in meets nearly every weekend. The outdoor season included a trip to the Disney Relays in Orlando, Florida, and also included participating in the Drake Relays and many other meets in the Midwest.

Dordt ended the 2002 season with the Great Plains Athletic meet in Seward, Nebraska, on May 4. Dordt placed sixth in the women’s competition and fourth in the men’s competition.

Dordt will again send athletes to the NAIA National Outdoor Meet in Olathe, Kansas, which begins May 23. Jacque Scoby (sophomore, Morrill, Kansas) placed second in the Great Plains Athletic Conference meet with a javelin throw of 131’11”. The throw surpassed the previous meet record of 131’5”.

Kate Reinsma (sophomore, Colorado Springs, Colorado) qualified for the marathon at the national meet with her performance in a half marathon in Fremont, Nebraska, December 8.

One men’s relay team qualified for the national meet as well. The 4 x 400 team earned a spot with a time of 3:16.38 at the GPAC meet. The relay team trimmed over three seconds off their previous season best to clear the standard of 3:17.00 to qualify for the NAIA meet. The team consists of Jon Dekkers (senior, Hawarden, Iowa), Dan Foreman (sophomore, Orange City, Iowa), Bret Van Wyk (freshman, Pella, Iowa) and Brian Wassenaar (senior, Sheldon, Iowa).