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September 13, 2007

CMS Splits in Pacific Coast Classic

The CMS Athenas carried the momentum of a 5-game victory over Chapman University earlier in the week into the Pacific Coast Classic last Friday. The tournament featured a field of 15 teams, including schools from as far away as Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. CMS opened competition with then nationally ranked Linfield College of Oregon. Setters Kristine Grigsby and Alex Harrison combined for 47 assists in the 4-game match, while 3 seniors on the CMS roster recorded double digit kills. Middle blocker Camille Butts (SCR, Ontario CA) led that effort with 14, while outside hitter Lindsay Hull (CMC, Phoenix AZ) and opposite Alicia Freeman (CMC, Santa Barbara CA) chipped in 12 apiece. Freshman Jenna Suttmeier (SCR, Issaquah WA) added 8 kills of her own without a single hitting error and notched 10 digs. The team lost game 1 narrowly 28-30, then edged out the second game 31-29 before garnering more commanding victories in games 3 and 4 (30-26,, 30-21) to capture the second win of the season.

The Athenas returned to the gym that evening to face the Tufts University Jumbos. Tough serving by the CMS players landed them 7 aces and pressured Tufts' passers to force offensive errors. Nearly every player on the CMS roster saw time in the 3-game victory, including freshman Leanne Ringquist (CMC, Ben Lomond CA) who hit .700 in her debut as a middle blocker. Hull led the attack with 10 kills while freshman Jessica Waggoner (CMC, Scottsdale AZ) picked up 9 digs to lead the defense. The young Tufts squad was ousted (30-22, 30-18, 30-18).

Saturday's competition started early as the Athenas gathered to officiate the 10:00 am match before taking the floor against a strong Haverford team at 12:15. The Haverford squad was tremendously consistent, limiting its errors to pressure CMS. The Athenas looked sluggish in game 1 and never found a rhythm, falling quickly 16-30. Game 2 looked far better as freshman outside hitter Kendra Huff (CMC, Downey CA) turned it up a notch and took over the offense scoring 6 of her eventual 13 kills in the match to help the team to a decisive 30-22 win. Determined to end tournament play undefeated, Haverford battled back in game 3 and behind the strong play of the Salvo twins, captured the set 30-28, swinging momentum in its favor. Game 4 belonged to the Fords as they beat the Athenas 30-18, handing the CMS squad its first loss of the year.

Fatigued, CMS immediately took the floor again to take on George Fox University. The team fought hard, but never found its stride, hitting just .120 for the match. Despite strong play from middle blockers Butts and Helena Bottemiller (CMC, '09 Burien WA) who each picked up 9 kills hitting well above .280, the team eventually fell by slim margins in each game, succumbing 30-32, 28-30, 27-30.

The Athenas finished the tournament 2-2, and are 3-2 on the year. They will head to Thousand Oaks late next week to take part in the Cal Lutheran/Redlands Invitational Tournament where they will face NAIA opponent The Master's College in addition to three strong DIII teams, including nationally ranked Cal State East Bay, UC Santa Cruz and a rematch with Chapman University. Match times are 11 and 3 on both Friday and Saturday.