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Baranek: Volleyball is their game, Kamp is their name

Sisters RebeccKamp (left) Lizzie Kamp Chicago Christian graduates members CalvCollege women's volleyball team. | Supplied photo

Sisters Rebecca Kamp (left) and Lizzie Kamp, Chicago Christian graduates and members of the Calvin College women's volleyball team. | Supplied photo

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Updated: January 1, 2013 6:21AM



When it comes to volleyball, they aim pretty high in the Kamp family.

Last year as a senior middle hitter at Calvin College, Rebecca Kamp, a Chicago Christian graduate and Orland Park native, earned American Volleyball Coaches Association Division III Player of the Year honors.

As she stood on the stage during the ceremony held in San Antonio, Rebecca thanked all the people she wanted to thank, then wished upon a star.

“I didn’t really remember saying it, but my mom reminded me that I had said, ‘I hope my sisters are up here on this stage some day.’ ”

A year later, Lizzie Kamp made big sister’s wish come true.

“My mom was like, ‘Your words were prophetic,’ ” Rebecca Kamp said. “I’m so proud of her and so happy. As her years progressed, she matured so much. By the end, man, she was all-in. She was a great leader.”

Rebecca and Lizzie became the first sisters in Division III history to share MVP honors.

And there might be more to come.

Stacey Kamp is a sophomore and Maggie a freshman at Calvin College, which is located in Grand Rapids, Mich. The youngest sister, Anna, is a sophomore at Chicago Christian.

The extended Kamp family of volleyball also includes three cousins, Leah and Megan, who play at Chicago Christian. More cousins, Madison Kamp (a Junior Olympian) and Kirsten Harms, are Chicago Christian alums.

Think they have some wild and crazy volleyball matches in the back yard during the summer?

“It’s just always been something really fun that we can share in,” Lizzie Kamp said. “We always play in the back yard; it’s just a fun thing that we can all get together and kind of bond over.”

Lizzie, an outside hitter, led Calvin College to second place in the nation in 2012, averaging 4.33 kills and 2.17 digs per set. Before being named the Division III Player of the Year, she also was selected MVP of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association and made the All-MIAA first team for the third consecutive season.

During her four-year career, the Knights were 126-15, winning the national title in 2010.

An accounting major, Lizzie will remain in the classroom at Calvin College for one more year to earn her degree. She plans on coaching a club team in the spring.

“I feel I grew a lot through my four years here,” Lizzie said. “I knew that this year, without my sister, I would become a go-to hitter. I love that position and that mind-set.

“To get the (national) honor after my sister did, it was such a blessing. I never really thought about it once this year. She had such a decorated career, and in general she is a more talented player than me.”

Indeed, Rebecca put up some incredible numbers during her four years at Calvin, amassing a school-record 1,868 kills and 574 blocks. She was MVP of the MIAA three of four seasons.

All the while, she carried a 3.91 GPA. She teaches special education and is a lower-levels volleyball coach at Westminster Christian Academy in St. Louis.

Rebecca was a senior and Lizzie a junior at Chicago Christian when the Knights made the school’s first appearance at state in 2007, finishing fourth in Class 2A.

Chicago Christian since has made three more trips to state, winning it all in Class 2A in 2010. There were a bunch of Kamps on that team as well: Maggie, Madison, Stacey and Emily.

If a family ever has put more of a stamp on a school’s athletic program, please let me know.

“It’s funny, because the school I’m at right now, their varsity just won state a couple of weeks ago,” Rebecca said. “I had the privilege to go with them and sit on their bench as a coach. I had flashbacks of when we went to state.

“I have very, very fond memories of that state run and playing volleyball at Chicago Christian,” Rebecca said. “It was just so cool. We were so enamored with the whole process. Our entire family was there, and all of our best friends came down to see us.”

It’s a scene that’s been repeated in the Kamp family many, many times.

Stage appearances, though, are at two and counting.

No pressure now, Stacey.

“Yeah, ha-ha, I know,” Rebecca said. “We set the bar pretty high, I guess.”



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