CLAREMONT, Calif. – Despite the rough start, the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's volleyball team got the job done in convincing fashion as they defeated cross-street rival Pomona-Pitzer 3-1 (21-25, 25-11, 25-12, 25-19). The Athenas struggled with their digs and made uncharacteristic errors in the first set, but found their rhythm on offense in the following three sets to ensure a dominant victory.
The Sagehens looked overwhelmed by the Athenas' defense, as they were held below a .100 hitting percentage in the first three sets. CMS proved to be the superior offensive team, out-spiking the Sagehens 60 to 39. However, Pomona-Pitzer scored more points on the block, stuffing 12 while the Athenas blocked seven.
Margaux Arntson (CMC) led the Athenas with 16 kills and five blocks while Shelbi Stein (CMC) added 14. First year Melanie Moore (CMC) scored a season-high four service aces while Margot Mafra Spencer (SC) had 12 kills and one block assist. First year Regan Dinovitz (CMC) also had five blocks to go with seven kills.
The first set did not go well for the Athenas as the Sagehens went on an early 7-1 run to take a 9-5 lead. Misreads on the Sagehens' hit attempts and several attacking errors prevented the Athenas from closing the gap throughout the set as Pomona-Pitzer built a 16-11 lead. The Athenas finally broke out of the funk, going on a 4-0 run to cut the deficit 16-15. However, the Sagehens made sure to put the game away by responding with a 3-0 run. The two teams traded points before Sophie Janssen and Isabel Kelly scored back-to-back kills to finish the set 25-21 for the Sagehens.
The Athenas started to score kills at a higher rate than the prior set, scoring their first five out of nine points off spikes. With a 9-6 lead, the Athenas went on an extended 7-0 run, during which Phoebe Madsen (CMC) assisted four times on Arntson's kills. The Sagehens struggled to put on a rally as CMS steadily increased their lead. After Mafra Spencer scored a kill to give CMS a 22-11 lead, Moore followed up with an ace. It was déjà vu' in the final two points as Mafra Spencer earned a kill of Clara Madsen's (CMC) quick toss before Moore finished the match with a service ace to make it 25-11 and tie the match 1-1.
CMS picked up where they left off in the prior set, breaking out with a 10-1 run to take an 11-4 lead. During the run, Stein and Mafra Spencer each scored three kills. Arntson went on an incredible run, scoring two consecutive spikes before combining with Dinovitz for a block on Brooke Carlson to put CMS ahead 16-6. Once again, the Sagehens struggled to find momentum on the attack as the Madsen sisters continued to feed easy tosses to their hitters. After Dinovitz crushed a free ball to put CMS ahead 24-12, she combined with Arntson for a set-winning block on Janssen to put CMS ahead 2-1.
Pomona-Pitzer finally found its offense early in the fourth set, thanks to some big hits from Kelly and Janssen, but the Athenas responded well with some timely blocks from Arntson and Dinovitz to hold off the Sagehens' attack. Trailing 8-7, the Athenas broke out with a 4-0 run thanks to three big kills from Arntson. The Athenas went on a 3-0 run later in the set, thanks to some errors by the Sagehens, as CMS took a 15-10 lead. Pomona-Pitzer refused to let the game get out of reach, but the Athenas did not let them close the gap. Leading 23-19, Stein and Mafra Spencer scored back-to-back kills to end the match 3-1 for the Athenas.
CMS will travel to the University of Redlands on Tuesday, October 10 to play the Bulldogs at 7:00 p.m.