No. 7 Athenas Drop Five-Set Thriller To Chapman

Phoebe Madsen
Phoebe Madsen

ORANGE, Calif. - Saturday night's road contest against Chapman University ended on a tough note for the No. 7 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's volleyball team as the Athenas fell 3-2 (18-25, 20-25, 25-21, 25-20, 25-23) in an intense five-set contest. The Athenas were tested in the first two sets, but managed to pull through to build a 2-0 lead. However, the Panthers made several adjustments and rallied back from the deficit and came away with the close victory. 

Shelbi Stein (CMC) had an incredibly efficient night, hitting .410 with 18 kills, while Margaux Arntson (CMC) led the Athenas with 23 kills and had six total blocks. First year Regan Dinovitz (CMC) led the Athenas with eight total blocks and Mariah Rigg (CMC) finished the night with 13 kills and six total blocks. The Athenas also had a great night passing the ball as Clara Madsen (CMC) and her younger sister Phoebe (CMC) combined with 64 assists while Mikena Werner (CMC) led the Athenas with 30 digs. Although the Athenas controlled the first two sets on both ends of the floor, holding the Panthers to a .051 hitting percentage in the first set and later outhitting them at .375 in the second set, Chapman relied on its defense adjustments to spur the comeback. Lindsey Johnson proved to be a key weapon in the Panthers' offense, knocking down 20 kills at a .415 clip while Jessica Blum tossed up 35 assists. 

The first set initially was a close affair as the two teams stay neck and neck until Sarah Tritschler (CMC) served as CMS trailed 12-11. Clara set Margot Mafra Spencer (SC) and Mariah Rigg (CMC) for back-to-back kills before Tritschler served up an ace to put CMS ahead 14-12. Mafra Spencer and Rigg then combined for a huge block to cap the four-point run. The Panthers clawed their way back from the deficit, but the Athenas refused to relinquish the lead as Mafra Spencer stepped up to the line with a 19-18 lead. The Athenas went on a 6-0 run to finish the set, including kills from Arntson and Crystal Anderson (CMC). 

CMS found its rhythm on the offensive end in the second set as the Panthers had trouble picking up on the Athenas' hitters. The Athenas surged their way to a 14-5 lead and did not give the Panthers any chance of coming back. Stein crushed a toss from Clare Madsen to give CMS the 2-0 set advantage. 

The Athenas jumped to a 4-0 lead in the third set, but the Panthers were determined to not go away as they managed to tie the game. The two teams went back and forth, until the Athenas gradually worked their way to an 18-13 lead thanks to a kill from Stein and a service ace from Rigg. The Athenas held a 21-16 lead and were four points away from sealing the match, but the Panthers put on an incredible rally, going off with an 8-0 run to win the set. Kylie Cooke had two kills during the run for the Panthers. 

The Panthers looked to carry their momentum in the fourth set as the Athenas tried to shake off the tough finish from the last set. The two teams remained close until the Panthers found their footing and went on a 5-0 run, capitalizing on a couple hitting errors from the Athenas to take a 15-10 lead. The Panthers never looked back as Courtney Justus, Lindsey Johnson, and Cooke played a part in six of the Panthers last 10 points to tie the game 2-2. 

The final set was an intense affair as neither sides were willing to go away. The two sides remained tight throughout the final set until the game was tied at 22 apiece. After Kylie Cooke converted a kill to put Chapman ahead, Lindsey Johnson closed the game off with two consecutive kills to seal the match.

With the loss the Athenas are 9-5 this season with a 2-1 record in the SCIAC. 

CMS will hit the road again on Friday, October 29 to face Occidental College at 7 p.m. 

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