CLAREMONT, Calif. – For the fourth straight year, the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps volleyball team is headed to Cal Lutheran for the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Postseason Tournament final. The No. 2 seed CMS bested No. 3 seed La Verne on Thursday night 3-1 (27-29, 25-23, 25-19, 25-16) to advance to the conference final.
Cal Lutheran beat No. 4 seed Pomona-Pitzer in straight sets and will host CMS in the final at Gilbert Arena in Thousand Oaks, Calif. on Nov. 5 at 6 p.m. The Athenas will look to repeat as SCIAC Postseason Tournament champions after winning the program's first tournament title in 2015.
CMS went down 1-0 after the lengthy first set that went all the way to 29-27. In that set, the Leos had just three errors and hit .350 to eventually take the game after their fourth set point. The Athenas had one set point as well at the 25-24 mark but a well-placed ULV timeout earned a sideout for the Leopards. La Verne had success defending senior Nicole Kerkhof (CMC) initially. In 13 swings, she only recorded three kills plus a pair of errors.
For the rest of the match, Kerkhof played error-free and wound up with 12 kills. Without statistics from the first set, she joins juniors Shelbi Stein (CMC) and Mariah Rigg (CMC) hitting over .300 in the match. Stein led all hitters with 18 kills and a .457 average.
The second set saw CMS have as much as a five point lead that the Leopards reeled in to just trail by one at 23-22. The teams traded points for the Athenas to tie up the match at a set apiece.
With momentum on the side of the Athenas, CMS was its most efficient in the third set, hitting .405 and only recording one error. The error came off a successful block by All-SCIAC player Cassie Thompson and Kaylee Johnson. Stein was 4-for-10 while Crystal Anderson (CMC) and Sarah Bruml (SC) went up for a big block on the SCIAC Athlete of the Year, Kelsi Robinson in the second point of the set to kick off a 10-1 run.
The final set had the fewest points recorded but CMS still recorded 20 digs, led by junior Clara Madsen (CMC) and Phoebe Madsen (CMC), each with five. The defense, that has been the foundation of CMS' success this season, did not disappoint. Libero Mikena Werner (SC) led all players with 22 in the match followed closely by Kerkhof at 14.
By Emily Nordhoff
Sports Information Director
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