Athenas Sweep Panthers, Advance to SCIAC Final

photo credit: Mitch Allan
photo credit: Mitch Allan

CLAREMONT, Calif. - The No. 6 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Athenas swept the Chapman Panthers on Wednesday night in the SCIAC Semifinals 3-0 (25-17, 25-18, 25-11) to punch their ticket to the SCIAC Championship on Saturday evening. The Athenas featured a balanced offensive effort that included six different players with at least five kills.

Amanda Walker (SC) led the way for the offense with nine kills and a .500 hitting percentage, while Mikena Werner (SC) collected a match-high 14 digs and Clara Madsen (CMC) dished out 20 assists.

The opening set of Thursday's contest was closely contested throughout. CMS jumped out to early leads of 8-4, 11-6, and 13-7, but the Panthers battled back and trailed by as few as two at 19-17. A kill from Walker gave the serve back to the Athenas and Clara Madsen notched back-to-back service aces to quickly make it a 22-17 game. An error by Chapman and consecutive kills from Crystal Anderson (CMC) and Shelbi Stein (CMC) ended the set at 25-17. The Athenas scored the final six points of the set to take a 1-0 lead in the match.

In the second set, Chapman jumped out of the blocks and took an early 4-1 lead. The Athenas responded with an 8-0 run that featured two service aces from Mikena Werner and kills from Stein, Melanie Moore (CMC), and Isabelle Taylor (CMC) to give CMS control of the set at 9-4. The Panthers closed the gap to as few as three points on eight occasions, but could not get any closer as CMS took the set 25-18.

Holding a 2-0 lead in the match, the Athenas punched their ticket to the SCIAC Tournament Finals with a commanding 25-11 victory in the third set to complete the sweep. The final set was fueled by a pair of big runs for the Athenas. CMS rattled off a 10-2 run midway through the set before closing the match on a 9-2 streak. A pair of kills from Taylor accounted for the final two points of the match and the Athenas closed the door on the Panthers, pushing their win streak to 15 matches in the process.

As mentioned, the Athenas advance to the SCIAC Tournament Finals on Saturday evening at 6:00 p.m. The top-seeded Athenas hold home-court advantage and will host the third-seeded Cal Lutheran Regals in Roberts Pavilion. The Regals defeated the second-seeded La Verne Leopards 3-1 (23-25, 25-22, 25-20, 25-23) this evening.