Ahrenholz leads Knights

by andrea schutter

Associate Sports Editor

Lounging in the fieldhouse before departing for another big match at Kalamazoo College, senior setter Sara Ahrenholz admitted that reading recess was not as much of a break as she hoped it would be. A graduate of Central Minnesota Christian High School where she played both basketball and volleyball, Ahrenholz has learned to adapt to a busy schedule. Juggling volleyball with an accounting major may be tough, but Ahrenholz always finds time to shine the minute she sets foot on the volleyball court.

Ahrenholz has maintained a leading position in the MIAA conference with 617 assists in 53 games. Not only does she display outstanding effort and hustle, but her impressive setting ability gives Calvin's hitters a great advantage.

``She is very predictable for our hitters--they know exactly where the ball will be,'' said varsity head coach Jerry Bergsma. ``Her consistency has been very important for her success.''

Calvin boasts one of the strongest front lines in the MIAA, mostly because its hitters trust Ahrenholz' ability. They are confident in her athletic ability and reassured by her determination to pick up every second ball and set it up for the kill. Bergsma commends her setting prowess, and he believes she has learned a great deal about her position since she started on the varsity team as a sophomore. ``She understands the game well,'' said Bergsma. ``She observes what the opponent is doing defensively to stop her teammates, and she knows right where to put the ball.'' Ahrenholz has a knack for setting, but she has also learned more strategy and improved defensively, making her a very prominent volleyball player for Calvin College.

With three years of varsity volleyball under her belt, Ahrenholz believes this season has been one of the best. ``The team chemistry is great this year--everyone gets along and there isn't one person who is outstanding all the time,'' explained Ahrenholz. ``We all work together to make for a talented team.'' The Knights' talent is reflected in the three-way tie with Alma College and archrival Hope College for the conference title. Ahrenholz feels confident in the team's abilities, especially at the end of a tough season. ``We're playing pretty well, and the team is coming back up to where it needs to be,'' stated Ahrenholz. ``Compared to my last three years, the league this year is the best it's ever been.'' Being a senior on the court, Ahrenholz is especially looking forward to competing in her last battle for a championship title. After a big win over Hope College last week Wednesday, the Knights are determined to fight for the leading spot in the conference. ``Everyone is really excited that we have a chance for first place,'' added Ahrenholz.

The setter's stellar performances are aided not only by her teammates, but also by her coaches. Ahrenholz admires coach Bergsma for his understanding attitude and ability to relate to the team. ``He has a big family, so he understands that we have a lot of other things going on besides volleyball,'' stated Ahrenholz. Varsity assistant coach Amber Warners has also played a significant role in helping Ahrenholz fine-tune her setting skills. ``Because coach Warners was a setter in college, she has given me a lot of insight for the position,'' said Ahrenholz. ``She's really helped me to train as a setter.''

The season is coming to a close for Ahrenholz, along with her career as a Calvin student. Being a member of Calvin's volleyball team has become a part of her life, and Ahrenholz knows that it will be different without it. ``It won't hit me for a couple months, but I will definitely miss it.'' For now, she and her teammates try to focus on winning a championship title.