College Showcase: Local volleyball players shine

Tribune Staff • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:08 AM

LeClair, a senior defensive specialist, has extended the new record to 1,850 career digs after Saturday’s loss, and has at least 26 more matches to add to her total.

She currently leads the Saints (12-6 overall) with 177 digs this season.


The Ball State University women’s volleyball team has won four-straight matches — including its opening two Mid-American Conference battles — thanks in part, to the play of Grand Haven graduate Mindy Marx.

Ball State began its win streak at the Spartan Invitational at Michigan State University on Sept. 16-17. The Cardinals opened with a loss to the host Spartans, but closed with 3-1 wins over Sacred Heart and Virginia Commonwealth. Ball State has since defeated Akron and Toledo.

For her stellar play at MSU, Marx was named the MAC West Division Defensive Player of the Week. She became the first Cardinals player this season to be named an league award winner.

Against Sacred Heart, Marx, a sophomore middle hitter, tallied a career-high 10 total blocks (one solo, nine assisted) and one kill. She became the first Ball State player to reach double-digit blocks in a match since 2006.

In the opener against MSU, she tallied four blocks and five kills, and closed the tournament with a block and eight kills against VCU.

During Saturday’s 3-1 win at Akron, Marx contributed seven kills and two blocks in two games.

Marx currently ranks second on the Cardinals in total blocks (37) and has also tallied 73 kills while appearing in 40 of Ball State’s 54 games.


Fruitport graduate Danie Brink was named the MIAA’s Specialty Player of the Week after dishing out 114 assists (9.5 per set) and 35 digs (2.9 per set), helping St. Mary’s win three of its four matches.

Brink had 35 assists and 16 digs in a four-set win over Trine, then added 39 assists and 11 digs in a sweep of Adrian.

This is the second time in he career Brink has received the Specialty Player of the Week honor.


Spring Lake graduate Samee Chittenden was the fifth-fastest finisher for the St. Mary’s (Ind.) women’s cross country team at Saturday’s MIAA Jamboree.

The event was hosted by Trine University in Angola, Ind. Six-time defending conference champion Calvin College took first-place at the event, while St. Mary’s placed seventh.

Chittenden, a freshman, finished the course in 27 minutes, 7 seconds, good for 68th overall. She was just seven seconds behind teammate Colette Curtis, who placed 62nd.


Grand Haven graduate Emily Thomas’ return to the Midwest was a successful trip on Saturday.

Thomas, a junior  on the Lewis & Clark University women’s cross country team, was the fastest finisher on the Pioneers’ squad at the Roy Griak Invitational in St. Paul, Minn.

Thomas placed fourth with  a time of 22:42.6, helping the Pioneers place third overall. University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, the No. 5-ranked squad in Division 3, won the event with 82 points.  Lewis & Clark, located in Portland, Ore., scored 114.

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