Reidsma fourth in cross country finals;
volleyball team going national
Now, that’s the way to finish off a season — and a career.
In his final cross country race as a collegian, Trinity Christian College senior Andy Reidsma literally saved his best for last. One week after reigning as champion at the National Christian College Athletic Association meet in Cedarville, Ohio, the Wyoming, Mich., native made another impressive showing at last Saturday’s NAIA meet.
Not only did Reidsma earn All-America honors for the second straight year, he did so this time by improving his finishing position by 24 spots. Clocking a school-record time of 24 minutes, 35.69 seconds over the 8K course at Rim Rock Farm in Lawrence, Kan., Reidsma was the first Illinois runner down the chute and the fourth individual overall.
Reidsma’s placing was the highest ever for a Trolls runner at the NAIA meet. The week before, he was feted for his leadership by the NCCAA, which gave Reidsma its coveted Wheeler Award. Trinity’s Hannah Schwab was the recipient of the NCCAA’s Ray Bullock Award that same day.
Also competing for the Trolls at the NAIA event were Anna Bos and Jessica Disselkoen, who took part in the 5K women’s race. Bos completed her run in 19:03.72, which was good for 75th place, while Disselkoen’s 19:22 landed her in the 122nd position overall.
Sioux City, Iowa, in December is not the first place most people would select to spend a weekend, or longer.
Then there are the members of Trinity’s volleyball team. To that select group of Trolls, Sioux City in December is akin to Tahiti in July for a common tourist: It is the place to be.
That’s because Trinity battled its way to the NAIA Championship, one of 24 teams to do so, by defeating Bellevue of Nebraska on Saturday on the Bruins’ home court. It took five sets, but the Trolls prevailed via a 9-25, 26-24, 21-25, 25-20, 15-13 margin.
Now comes the hard part. Trinity (37-7) will dive into the pool — Pool B, one of six — beginning Tuesday. Concordia of California (23-2), Georgetown of Kentucky (33-9) and Missouri’s Park (34-5) are the Trolls’ pool mates, in that order, with one match a day.
If Trinity advances from that, Friday, Dec. 6, brings the single-elimination and quarterfinal rounds.
Only one team at the finals, undefeated Madonna University of Michigan, has more victories (38) than Trinity. Madonna didn’t have to play in the opening round, but the Trolls did, and persevered.
The match with Bellevue came down to the final set after the squads traded the first four, Trinity rallying to capture the second and fourth games. One curiosity of college volleyball is that only 15 points, rather than the usual 25, are needed to win a fifth set and, thus, the match.
That pumps up the intensity, and the Trolls’ match with Bellevue was no exception. Trinity led 4-3 after six of the first seven points were won by kills, and the battle see-sawed on with a quintet of ties, the last at 12-all.
Then the Trolls pounced. Kaitlin Feddema hammered one of her 15 kills over the net for a 13-12 lead. Bellevue botched the next point and Trinity was at match point. Bellevue closed the gap to 14-13, but seconds later there was Feddema again, drilling the match point that sends the Trolls to Sioux City.
Bellevue’s easy win in the first set tilted the statistics in the Bruins’ favor, except for one key defensive stat: Trinity had 16 blocks to Bellevue’s seven. Feddema’s 15 kills and 18 digs led the Trolls, while Jessica Wiltjer chipped in 10 kills and eight blocks.
• Record: 37-7 overall, 17-1 CCAC, 13-0 home, 9-1 away, 15-6 neutral. Leaders: Kaitlin Feddema 429 kills; Erynn Schuh 45 aces, 10.8 sets per game; Ellie Raebel 571 digs; Jessica Wiltjer 174 blocks.
• Schedule: NAIA Championship at Sioux City, Iowa: Tuesday, vs. Concordia (Calif.), 1 p.m.; Wednesday, vs. Georgetown (Ky.), 3:15 p.m.; Thursday, vs. Park (Mo.), 1 p.m.
Two wins in a row.
The Trolls hadn’t made that happen for two seasons, but it came to pass when Trinity dealt Moody Bible Institute an 87-62 defeat at the start of last week.
Alas, the Trolls lost their next two games, including a 79-68 decision to Greenville College on Saturday. Earlier in the week, they dropped a 69-60 verdict to Robert Morris University in their Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference opener.
At 2-7 overall and 0-1 in the league entering this past Tuesday’s game with Roosevelt University, Trinity is generally in need of both offense and defense. The rout of Moody notwithstanding, scoring 61.8 points per game while allowing 73.3 isn’t going to cut it.
The loss to Greenville showed the Trolls can be competitive against good teams — they were only three back, at 67-64, after Holly Boetsma’s 3-pointer with 2:34 to play — but are too often undone by poor shooting and late collapses. Greenville held Trinity to 33 percent shooting from the floor and outscored the Trolls 12-4 after Boersma’s trey.
The lack of staying power was also evident against Robert Morris. A 16-11 lead 12 minutes in vanished by halftime, the Eagles outscoring the Trolls 19-4 to take a 35-20 advantage. Trinity trailed by as many as 20 before a late flurry of points made the margin more respectable, but Robert Morris held the Trolls to 28 percent shooting, rendering Trinity’s 63-47 rebounding edge a moot point.
The Trolls led the Archers of Moody Bible 32-8 before lifting the gas pedal and still won by 25 points. Caitlin Cody paced Trinity with 16 points, while Simona Sidaugaite and Noetsma added 15 and 13, respectively.
• Record: 2-7 overall, 0-1 CCAC, 1-2 home, 1-4 away, 0-1 neutral. Leaders: Allie Paluchniak 11.0 ppg., 20 assists; Caitlin Cody 6.8 rpg, 6 blocks; Rebecca DeHaan 14 steals; Brooke Bambrick 6 blocks.
• Schedule: Saturday, at Trinity International University, 5:30 p.m.; Dec. 14, at Goshen College, noon CT; Dec. 17, at Cardinal Stritch, 5:30 p.m.; Dec. 19, vs. Judson University, 1 p.m.
If the start was different, the outcome might have been as well.
That’s what the Trolls had to take from their CCAC opener. A 9-0 deficit after four minutes to Robert Morris proved too difficult to overcome over the next 36. Trinity fell 75-66 — precisely nine points — to the Eagles last Wednesday in DeVos Gym.
Twice, the Trolls rallied to tie the game in the first half, but Robert Morris led 32-30 at halftime and built an 11-point advantage early in the second half. This time, Trinity’s rally could close the margin to no better than five points, and the Eagles drew away at the finish.
Jake Van Den Berg led the Trolls with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Jared Jones (16 points), Ezekiel Odonkor (12) and Cody Rhorer (10) were also in double figures, but Robert Morris’s frontcourt duo of Sean Montgomery (24 points) and Kashaune McKinney (20) were too much for Trinity, its 48-45 rebounding edge aside.
The loss left the Trolls 2-5 overall and 0-1 in CCAC play entering this past Tuesday’s game with Roosevelt.
• Record: 2-5 overall, 0-1 CCAC, 2-1 home, 0-3 away, 0-1 neutral. Leaders: Jared Jones 13.6 ppg., 21 assists; Ezekiel Odonkor, Jake Van Den Berg 8.1 rpg. each; Cody Rhorer 6 steals; Odonkor 9 blocks.
• Schedule: Friday, vs. Indiana-East at St. Xavier Tournament, 4 p.m.; Saturday, vs. Madonna at St. Xavier Tournament, 1 p.m.; Wednesday, at Viterbo, 7 p.m.; Dec. 7, at Trinity International, 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 14, at Indiana-Northwest, 3 p.m.; Dec. 17, at Cardinal Stritch, 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 19, vs. Judson, 3 p.m.