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Volleyball team takes third trip to nationals in four years

By Mike Byker

Rachel Pontier and Amanda Eekhoff helped propel the lady Defenders volleyball team to nationals.  It was the third time in four years that the team qualified for the national competition.

Rachel Pontier and Amanda Eekhoff helped propel the lady Defenders volleyball team to nationals. It was the third time in four years that the team qualified for the national competition.

The Dordt College Lady Defender volleyball team finished their second 37 match win season in a row with a trip to the NAIA national volleyball tournament in San Diego in early December. The Lady Defenders finished the tournament 2-2 in pool play, ending the Lady Defender season at 37-4.

The trip to nationals was the program’s sixth and the third trip in four years. This was the first time in the program’s history that the Lady Defenders won the regional championship, posting a win over perennial power St. Mary’s (Nebraska) in the finals at the De Witt Gym in mid-November.

Tara De Boer, a junior from Rock Valley, Iowa, became the third player in Dordt College history to earn first-team NAIA All-American honors after being named the Great Plains Athletic Conference and NAIA Region IV player of the year. De Boer led the Lady Defenders with 570 kills—with 4.2 kills per game average and also had 1.3 blocks per game. De Boer was also named the Region IV Tournament outstanding player and was named to the all-tournament team at the NAIA national tournament.

Rachel Pontier, the lone senior on the ball club, ended her career at Dordt being named to the All-GPAC first team, NAIA Region IV second team, and the NAIA scholar-athlete list. The Orange City, Iowa, native averaged three kills per game and helped the Lady Defenders to a 141-21 record over the last four years. The Lady Defenders were 56-2 in conference play with Pontier in the lineup.

Amanda Eekhoff helped the Lady Defenders in her first year and was named to the All-GPAC first team, All-Region IV first team, and honorable mention All-American with 3.9 kills and 1.1 blocks per game.

Rachel Van Beek, an outside hitter from Inwood, Iowa, was named to the All-GPAC second team and Lindsey Van Wyk, an outside hitter from Pella, Iowa, was an All-GPAC honorable mention selection. Both players averaged over two kills per game.

Coach Tom Van Den Bosch was named both conference and Region IV coach of the year. This is the fourth time Van Den Bosch has been so honored.