No. 1 WashU ends Athenas’ NCAA run

Nicole Kerkhof (Photo by Joe Bergman)
Nicole Kerkhof (Photo by Joe Bergman)

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps volleyball team's season came to an end as they faced No. 1 ranked Washington University-St. Louis in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The No. 7 Athenas rallied back against 10 set points in the first set, but ultimately lost 3-0 to the WashU Bears (29-27, 26-24, 25-14).

WashU jumped out to an early 9-4 lead in the first set before Margaux Arntson (CMC), Shelbi Stein (CMC) and Nicole Kerkhof (CMC) nailed down kills to pull within one at 11-10. A big solo block by Kerhof earned CMS a sideout at 18-24. With their backs up against the wall, the Athenas took three points in a row pushing the score to 24-21 on Clara Madsen's (CMC) serve before the Bears called a timeout. CMS then tied it up at 24 points each with kills by Kerkhof and Sarah Bruml (SCR). The teams traded points until WashU eventually capitalized on an Athena hitting error to earn the first set win.

The Bears took the first six points of the second set and ultimately lead by as many as eight at 19-11. The Athenas rallied back again stringing four points together on Natalie Creekmur's serve (CMC). Arntson slammed down two kills in a row and then Kerkhof got another kill to tie the game at 23-23. CMS staved off one set point but then consecutive kills from Nkiru Udenze and Caroline Dupont allowed WashU to put the second game away.

In the final set, the Bears only committed one error for the 24-14 win. The combination of the fire power and blocking by Washington University-St. Louis was too much the CMS to rally back against.

For CMS, Stein and Kerkhof ended up with double-digit kills at 12 and 10 respectively. Mikena Werner (SCR) led all players with 18 digs in the match followed closely by Madsen at 14.

The Athenas wrap up their NCAA run in the Round of 32 and finish with a 27-6 record. WashU advances to the regional final to face Cal Lutheran on Sunday, Nov. 15.

Box Score | Postmatch Interview

By Emily Nordhoff
Sports Information Director

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