Athenas Write-Off Whittier in Straight Sets

Margot Mafra Spencer finished with 11 kills and 12 digs on Saturday.
Margot Mafra Spencer finished with 11 kills and 12 digs on Saturday.

Box Score

CLAREMONT, Calif. – After a tight 3-2 victory on Friday night at Occidental, the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's volleyball team was right back at it on Saturday afternoon, hosting Whittier in Roberts Pavilion. The Athenas made quick work of the Poets winning in straight-sets, 3-0 (25-15, 25-18, 25-21). Amanda Walker (SC) finished the match with a season-high 12 kills to lead the Athenas. Margaux Arntson (CMC) added 11 kills to join Walker as the only two players with double-digit kills in the match. Three Athenas each had four total blocks, including Arntson, Mariah Rigg (CMC), and Regan Dinovitz (CMC). 

Mikena Werner (CMC) and Margot Mafra Spencer (SC) each collected for 10-plus digs, finishing with 14 and 12 respectively. Clara Madsen (CMC) tossed up 21 assists while Phoebe Madsen (CMC) added 18. 

The Athenas wasted little time to take control of the match, scoring their first point off of Whittier's attack error followed by a combined block from Walker and Rigg. Rigg followed up her block with a soft hit that caught Whittier off-guard to give CMS a 3-0 lead. After staying ahead with an 8-6 lead, CMS broke out for an 8-0 run, including three services aces from Clara Madsen to lead 16-6. The Poets struggled to establish their presence on the offensive end as the Athenas held them to a .032 hitting percentage. Meanwhile, the Athenas took advantage of Whittier's plight as they continued to pad their lead. Rigg and Arntson combined for an emphatic block to seal the set 25-15. 

The Poets looked like a different team at the start of the second set, jumping to a 4-1 lead. Ahead 5-3, Makenzie Thieme unleashed a well-placed kill into the gaps of CMS' defense to spark a 3-0 run for the Poets. Trailing 8-3, the Athenas fought back, largely thanks to Arntson's powerful hitting and Mafra Spencer's bullet-like serves. CMS broke out with a 7-0 run, during which Mafra Spencer recorded two service aces, giving the Athenas a 10-8 lead. The two teams briefly traded points, but CMS went on a 5-1 run to build a comfortable 19-14 lead. The Poets never closed the gap as Dinovitz closed the set with a meteor shot to win it for CMS 25-18. 

With a 2-0 set advantage, the Athenas refused to let Whittier back in the match as the Poets refused to go away in the third set. After the Athenas built a 7-3 lead, the Poets managed to string a series of well-executed set plays for a 3-0 rally to get within one. Whittier eventually tied the game thanks to a more synchronized attack as well as a couple mental mistakes from the Athenas. However, with the set tied at 11 apiece, the Athenas broke out for a 4-0 run thanks to some key blocks from Arntson and a kill from Isabelle Taylor (CMC). However, the Poets refused to break as they climbed back to tie the game and traded points with the Athenas. After Clara committed a ball-handling error to let Whittier tie the game at 19 apiece, she made up for the mistake with a quick toss to Walker for a kill to take back the lead. This sparked a 4-1 run, including two kills by Dinovitz to take a 23-20 lead. After Valerie van der Lind and Alexis Mills combined for a block to put the Poets within two, Whittier's Alaina Rhee committed an attacking error to set the Athenas up for match point. The Athenas sealed the match 25-21 following an attacking error from van der Lind.

CMS will hit the road on Tuesday, October 3 to face Cal Lutheran at 7:00 p.m.