Record postseason run ends for CMS in NCAA D-III Quarterfinals loss to UW-Stevens Point

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NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – In a match that could not have been more closely contested, the No. 17 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps volleyball team's historic postseason run came to a close with a loss in a five-set thriller. The loss came to No. 6 University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division III Championships on Nov. 21 at the Freeman Center at Christopher Newport University. Stevens Point won the match in five sets (18-25, 25-15, 25-22, 15-25, 16-14).

While CMS (27-7) fell short of hoisting the national championship trophy in Virginia, the team had the best season in program history with a team-record 27 wins and an appearance in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division III Championships.

Against Stevens Point (33-4), CMS looked great early, taking the first set 25-18. In the first set, with the exception of a few ties, CMS led throughout as it put together as much as a 10-point lead at 22-12 after three-consecutive attack errors by Stevens Point. CMS had a little bit of an issue closing out the first set as Stevens Point went on a 6-1 run to narrow the score to 23-18. Back-to-back kills by freshman opposite Margaux Arntson (CMC) and sophomore outside hitter Nicole Kerkhof (CMC) closed out the first-set win for CMS. Kerkhof had a big match for CMS with 15 kills and a match-high 33 digs. Arntson had 14 kills on the day for CMS.

The tables turned in the second set as Stevens Point built a large advantage, turning a 10-9 lead to a 25-15 win which evened the match at 1-1.

The third set proved to be the game-changer as both teams traded leads late in the set. Stevens Point looked as if it was going to run away with the third set, going ahead 14-7 after a service ace by Alexis Hartman. CMS then ran off 10-straight points to take a 17-14 lead after a kill by Kerkhof which was assisted by junior setter Tanner Hoke (CMC). Hoke had 32 assists, 16 digs and five service aces in the match. Stevens Point came back however and took the third set lead for good at 19-18 after a kill by Emma Brunkhorst.

CMS answered with a strong fourth set to even the match at 2-2 with a 25-15 fourth set win. A kill by Brunkhorst got UWSP within two points at 15-13. CMS then closed out the game on a 10-2 run to send the match into the fifth set. Junior opposite Audrey Breitwieser (CMC) helped close out the fourth set and prolong the match with three kills in CMS' last five points. Breitwieser had a team-high 16 kills in the match.

The deciding game was tight throughout as no team led by more than three points. At 7-4, CMS held the largest lead of the fifth set after a kill by freshman middle blocker Mariah Rigg (CMC). A 7-1 run put UWSP back ahead at 11-8 after back-to-back CMS attack errors. Twice Breitwieser and CMS evened the score back up (13-13 and 14-14) but UWSP sealed the 16-14 fifth set win and the match with a kill by Sarah Breuer.

Senior libero Megan Coleman (CMC) closed out her decorated CMS career with 32 digs, while freshman setter Clara Madsen (CMC) added nine digs.

With the win, UWSP advanced to the national semifinals and will face Emory who defeated Williams.

Box score

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