No. 20 CMS beats No. 2 Cal Lu in five set epic match

CLAREMONT, Calif. – For the first time since 2009, the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps volleyball team bested the Cal Lutheran Regals 3-2 in an epic Tuesday night match. CMS took the first two games, CLU earned the next two and then CMS won the fifth for the victory (25-21, 25-21, 20-25, 23-25, 15-12).

The Athenas started the match with an intensity and fire not seen yet this season. In the first set, CMS recorded 14 kills for a .222 hitting percentage, the highest of the match. Freshman Clara Madsen kept the Athenas in a few points with a pair of all-out digs. Midway through the set, CMS had a nine point advantage (19-10) after a kill from freshman Mariah Rigg.

Rigg led the Athenas with her blocking during the match. She recorded six block assists and two big solo blocks, both in the second set. CMS had 12.5 team blocks, an average of 2.5 per set, significantly better than their previous 1.65 blocks per set.

The Athenas won the second set by going on a 5-1 run after being tied at 20-20 with the Regals. Sophomore Nicole Kerkhof had the last three kills of the set, assisted by Madsen.

The fire alarm was inadvertently activated during the third set, drawing it out. CLU won the third and fourth sets, 25-20 and 25-25.

The Athenas rallied back in the fifth set, going on 9-2 run on senior Tanner Hoke's serve to win the set and the match.

Overall, the Athenas were able to come up digs in big moments to continue rallies and eventually win crucial points. Four CMS players had at least ten digs each; senior Megan Coleman led with 24, Kerkhof was just behind with 20, and both Hoke and junior Arianna Sifuentes had 13.

While junior Audrey Breitwieser did not have her best night in hitting percentage, she came up big in the final set, recording four of the team's seven kills, including the last point for the victory. Kerkhof led the Athenas with 18 kills followed by Breitwieser and freshman Margaux Arntson each with nine. Senior Regina Mullen also had a big night with eight kills.

Coming into the match, the Regals were ranked No. 2 in Division III by the AVCA. They only had one loss on the season and were undefeated in SCIAC. In the 22 matches they had played this year, CLU had only lost 10 sets. Tonight, the Athenas handed them their first conference loss since Sept. 29, 2012, snapping a 39 game SCIAC win streak.

This is the highest ranked opponent CMS have beaten since knocking off No. 1 Juniata on Oct. 11, 2008 at a tournament hosted by La Verne. Juniata finished that season ranked No. 3 in the AVCA poll.

CMS (19-5, 10-2 SCIAC) faces Sixth Street Rival, Pomona-Pitzer (15-8, 7-4 SCIAC) on Friday, Oct. 24 at 7:30 p.m. at the Rains Center.

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