GRAND RAPIDS, MI - The volleyball team of Heidelberg University fell in the opening round of the NCAA Division III tournament on Thursday night. Host Calvin College swept the Student Princes, 25-15 25-13 25-17, and will face Mount Union on Friday.
The loss marked the end of the careers for three highly decorated Heidelberg student-athletes, Marian Bevington (Celina/Parkway), Rachel Ferguson (Brighton, MI) and Jacki Street (Grafton/Midview).
Bevington led Heidelberg offensively, as she finished with 11 kills. Junior Amber Welfle (Norwalk/St. Paul) added 8 kills against the tall Calvin defense. Street chipped in 6 kills.
Ferguson dished 14 assists to cap her career.
Sophomore Tessa Benanzer (Fort Loramie), who received Capital One-CoSIDA Academic All-Region second team honors earlier in the day, paced Heidelberg defensively with 17 digs.
Calvin, currently ranked No. 1 in the latest AVCA poll, improved to 29-2 with the win.
"They're a good team," said head coach Jason Miller. "We couldn't put enough pressure on them offensively to keep them out of their system."
The trip to the regional tournament was the sixth straight for Heidelberg, which finished with a 19-15 record.
"It's been a tough year, but it isn't reflective of what our three seniors have meant to our program," said Miller.
Bevington finishes her career with 1,414 kills and 444 blocks, putting her in second and third in those categories in Heidelberg history.
Ferguson's 2,565 career assists are the third-most in the record books.
Street has notched 1,071 kills in 514 career sets. She ranks eighth in kills and third in sets played.
While it will be difficult to replace the seniors, Miller remains optimistic about Heidelberg volleyball.
"This will only drive our program to work harder and recruit more players that will keep Heidelberg among the nation's best," Miller concluded.