Athenas Battle, Split Pair of Matches at Cal Lu Invite

Athenas Battle, Split Pair of Matches at Cal Lu Invite

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Playing in the 10th annual Cal Lu Fornia Invitational, the No. 9 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's volleyball team split a pair of matches. The Athenas mounted a furious comeback against Pacific Lutheran to win their first match of the day in five sets (3-2, 15-25, 25-19, 20-25, 25-22, 16-14). In the nightcap, the Athenas fell in a squeaker to No. 10 Trinity (TX) 3-1 (13-25, 25-23, 28-26, 28-26) in their second match against a top-10 opponent in as many weeks.

No. 9 CMS defeats Pacific Lutheran – 3-2 (15-25, 25-19, 20-25, 25-22, 16-14)

The Athenas fell behind Pacific Lutheran 2-1 in their first match of the weekend. The Athenas battled back and won the final two sets to claim the 3-2 (15-25, 25-19, 20-25, 25-22, 16-14) victory over the Lutes in dramatic fashion.

Trailing 2-1 and facing a 19-14 deficit in the fourth set the Athenas were just six points away from a loss. A kill by Regan Dinovitz (CMC) gave the serve to Phoebe Madsen (CMC) and she and the Athenas took control. CMS rattled off the next ten points to turn a five-point deficient into a quick five-point lead. The run featured four kills from Margaux Arntson (CMC), three from Dinovitz, and one from Lauren Widasky (CMC) as well as an ace from Madsen. Three points later, Dinovitz closed out the set with a kill and the Athenas forced a decisive fifth set.

The fifth set was a back and forth battle that saw neither team lead by more than two points until the very end of the set when the Athenas won three-straight points to claim a 16-14 set victory and a 3-2 win in the match.

The 3-2 victory was the textbook definition of a team win. Offensively, Margaux Arntson put down a match-high 19 kills, with Lauren Widasky and Reagan Dinovitz adding double-digit kills with 14 and 11, respectively. Phoebe Madsen (CMC) dished out 27 assists, just three shy of Clara Madsen's (CMC) 30 that the team. Defensively Mikena Werner (SC) and Sarah Tritschler (CMC) combined for 42 digs. In addition to Clara Madsen's 30 assists, she also accounted for 10 of CMS' 88 digs to complete the first double-double on the season for the Athenas.

The Lutes controlled the opening set thanks to an early 10-1 run to open up an eight-point lead. The Athenas pulled their way back into the set with a nice run that closed the gap to 14-11. Unfortunately for CMS, the Lutes won the next eight points and went on to take the set by a score of 25-15.

Set two started with the Lutes in control once again. Pacific Lutheran won the first three points, but the Athenas turned the tables and won the next five points to pull in front at 5-3. The margin remained close until CMS took the reins with a late run to close out the set. The Athena seized momentum after a service error by the Lutes. That error tied the set at 13-13 and started a 13-6 run for CMS. The run closed out the set (25-19) and evened the match at 1-1. First year, Margot Mafra Spencer (SC) fueled the run with five kills.

After CMS tied the match at 1-1, Pacific Lutheran got right back in the driver's seat with a 25-20 victory in the third set to take a 2-1 lead. The Lutes opened up an eight-point lead early in the set at 11-3 and eventually grew that lead to 10 at 19-9. The Athenas showed their fight putting together an 11-4 run to pull within three at 23-20. The run was a little too late, as the Lutes scored the final two points to take the set 25-20 and a 2-1 lead.

As mentioned the Lutes dominated the opening portion of the fourth set, setting up a thrilling end to the match. Pacific Lutheran built up a 19-14 lead, but they were unable to close out the set with the Athenas going on a 10-0 run and eventually winning the set 25-22.

In their first fifth set of the season, the Athenas and Lutes went toe-to-toe for the entirety of the set. Neither team held a lead of more than two points throughout the set. Once again, the Athenas trailed late with the Lutes serving for the match up 14-13. A service error gave CMS the serve and back-to-back kills from Regan Dinovitz and Margaux Arntson put the Athenas in the win column with a thrilling 3-2 victory.

For the Lutes, Mackenzie Harris stuffed the stat sheet. She finished with 16 kills, 11 blocks, and a .481 hitting percentage.

No. 10 Trinity (TX) defeats No. 9 CMS – 3-1 (13-25, 25-23, 28-26, 28-26)

The Trinity Tigers outlasted the CMS Athenas in a heavyweight battle on Friday night. After a first set that the Athenas dominated from start to finish, the two squads played nearly even volleyball throughout the final three sets. The Tigers won each of the final three sets by two points and even needed extra points to decide the final two en route to the victory.

After dropping the first two points of the opening set, CMS ripped of a 13-2 run to take hold of the set. The lead continued to grow, ballooning to as many as 12 points at 22-10 late in the set. An ace from Clara Madsen ended the set and gave the Athenas a 25-13 victory in the set and a 1-0 advantage in the match.

While the first set was the Athenas' from start to finish, the second set was more of what you would expect from a meeting between two top-10 teams. The Tigers and Athenas traded a multitude of runs throughout the set. CMS went on an 8-1 streak that featured a pair of service aces from Phoebe Madsen. The when the run ended the Athenas held a 10-5, but the set was far from over. The Tigers countered almost immediately with an 8-1 run of their own. A kill from Shelbi Stein ended the Tigers' run and swung the pendulum back in favor of CMS. A quick 5-1 run put the Athena's back on top by a 17-15 score.

The set of runs did not stop there. Trinity won eight of the next 10 points, including five straight, to take a 23-19 lead. CMS closed the gap to as few as one at 24-23, but a kill from Avery Tuggle gave the Tigers the set 25-23 and evened the match at one set apiece.

In the third set the Athenas used an early 7-2 run to build a 9-7 lead. The lead remained under two points until an 8-4 run put CMS up 24-19. The run was propelled by four kills from Margaux Arnston. With a chance to take a 2-1 lead, the Athenas were unable to put away the final point in the set. The Tigers tipped the scales in their favor by rattling off six-straight points. Including the 6-0 run, the Tigers went on to win nine of the final 11 points to take the set 28-26.

Like the second and third sets before it, the fourth set continued the extremely close contest. The Tigers and Athenas traded nearly every other point for the first half of the set. Trinity held a 10-7 lead and looked to have separated themselves from the Athenas, but three-straight points from CMS – including a pair of kills from Arnstson – tied the match at 10-10. A few points later, the Athenas put together the longest run of the game with a critical four-point burst to push their lead to five at 20-15. After a 6-3 run for Trinity, the Athenas held a 24-21 lead with a chance to take the fourth set and tie the match at 2-2. The match point proved to be elusive and the Tigers closed out the set by winning seven of the final nine points to take the set 28-26 and the match 3-1 (13-25, 25-23, 28-26, 28-26).

In the match, Arntson (13 kills), Lauren Widasky (12), and Melanie Moore (11) led the offensive efforts for the Athenas. Defensively Mikena Werner collected her second match of the day with 20-plus digs, finishing with 20 on the dot. Phoebe Madsen finished the match with 15 assists and 12 digs for her first double-double of the season.

After splitting the pair of exhilarating matches on Friday the Athenas' record sits at 4-2 overall. CMS will complete the Cal Lu Fornia tomorrow with matches against UC Santa Cruz (11:30 a.m.) and Whitworth (4:00 a.m.).