The CMS Athenas returned from Thousand Oaks Saturday night even in match wins and losses, going 2-2 at the Cal Lutheran Invitational. CMS opened the tournament vs. UC Santa Cruz. Sluggish against the Banana-slugs, the Athenas fell behind early in set 1, and never caught up, losing 17-25. It looked as though CMS would turn the table in set 2, but despite a strong offensive effort by freshman, Sarah Marietta (SCR, Monument CO) who finished the match with 12 kills, the Athenas came up 2 points short, dropping set 2 by a score of 24-26. Momentum in their favor, the Banana-slugs came out strong in set 3 and CMS never recovered, losing its third straight set, 19-25. Senior setter, Alex Harrison (CMC, Tucson AZ) notched double digit assists (31) and digs (13).
That evening, the Athenas found themselves in a heated re-match with Chapman University, who beat CMS in 4 games the first match of the season. Determined not to be swept, the CMS squad came out energized and competitive, racing to an early lead in sets 1 and 2, holding off the Panthers to win 25-22, 25-20. Plagued by aggressive hitting errors and a brief let-down in serve receive, CMS dropped set 3, 19-25, but recovered to dominate in set 4, 25-16. Five Athenas had 5 or more kills in the balanced offensive effort, led by junior middle blocker, Jamie Matusiak (CMC, Tucson AZ) who led with 10. Libero, Greer Donley (Sr. CMC, Leawood KS) had a team high 14 digs.
Saturday morning, CMS returned to the gym to play #12 Cal State East Bay. East Bay dominated from the opening points, holding CMS to just 7 kills in each of the first 2 sets. CMS rallied in set 3 and found themselves tied at 25-25, but a hitting error by the Athenas was followed by a quick kill from the Pioneers and the Athenas lost the match in 3 straight sets.
Later that afternoon, the Athenas took on Willamette University, where they hoped to finish the tournament on a winning note. This time, CMS was dominant from the first point, backed by a great defensive effort from specialists, Greer Donley (Sr. CMC, Leawood KS) and Jessica Waggoner (So. CMC, Scottsdale AZ) who picked up 17 and 10 digs, respectively. Donley also had 2 of the team's 6 aces. Freshman, Emily Hudson (CMC, South Pasadena CA) also had a standout performance, with 5 kills and 10 digs of her own. CMS won decisively 25-20, 25-18, 25-15. In her first appearance of the season, sophomore middle blocker, Sarah Beattie (SCR, Quechee VT) picked up a kill and a block leading to the team's set 3 win. The victory puts the team just over .500 as they head into their first conference match Tuesday night at Caltech. Match time is 7:30 pm.