* PLEASE NOTE: Ticket Prices for all SCIAC Playoff Matches - $10 General Admission (12 and older) | $5 Seniors (55 and older) and members of the Military | Students that are members of SCIAC institutions get in free with valid student ID *
CLAREMONT, Calif. – The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's volleyball team claimed the 2017 SCIAC Championship by putting together a 15-1 conference record during the regular season. As a result, the Athenas enter this week's SCIAC Tournament as the top seed and will hold home court advantage in the Semifinals on Thursday and the potential Championship Game on Saturday.
The Athenas will take on the fourth-seeded Chapman Panthers in Roberts Pavilion on Thursday night at 7:00 p.m. In the other semifinal match, second-seeded La Verne will host third-seeded Cal Lutheran with the winners squaring off on Saturday evening at 6:00 p.m.
See below for a quick preview of the SCIAC Playoff Field:
No. 1 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Athenas – 23-5 (Overall), 15-1 (SCIAC)
How we got here: The Athenas played one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the country squaring off with 10 teams that have been ranked in the top 25 at some point throughout the season. The Athenas went 7-3 in those matches to help prepare them for the SCIAC schedule. CMS finished the SCIAC slate with a 15-1 record to earn the top seed in the tournament. In those 16 matches, the Athenas earned 11 sweeps and dropped just nine sets against SCIAC teams. CMS is also riding a 14-matching winning streak, dating back to Sept. 23. CMS is 5-1 against the other three SCIAC playoff teams.
Players to watch:
#16 - Margaux Arntson – Sr. – OPP – SCIAC Athlete of the Year – First Team All-SCIAC – 266 kills, 3.06 kills per set, .326 hitting percentage, 52 total blocks
#2 - Clara Madsen – Sr. – S – First Team All-SCIAC – 578 assists, 6.28 assists per set, 42 service aces, 167 digs, 1.82 digs per set
#24 - Mikena Werner – Sr. – L – First Team All-SCIAC – 459 digs, 5.04 digs per set, 116 assists, 33 service aces
No. 4 Chapman Panthers – 16-10, 10-6
How they got here: Chapman has been up and down all year. They started SCIAC play on a five-match win streak before dropping six of their next seven matches. Since dropping a 3-0 match against CMS on Oct. 20, Chapman has won their last four matches. That four-match winning streak forced a three-way tie with Cal Lutheran and Whittier for third place in the conference. Cal Lutheran took the third spot, but Chapman earned the head-to-head tie-breaker against Whittier for the final spot in the tournament. Chapman holds a 3-3 record against the other three SCIAC playoff teams.
Players to watch:
#22 - Lauren Friend – Jr. – First Team All-SCIAC – 195 kills, 2.24 kills per set, .344 hitting percentage, 14 service aces, 78 total blocks, 20 solo blocks
#14 - Kylie Cooke – Sr. – Second Team All-SCIAC – 203 kills, 2.74 kills per set, 2.92 hitting percentage, 67 digs, 45 total blocks
When they met: The Chapman Panthers are the only SCIAC team to hand the Athenas a loss this season, defeating CMS 3-2 (18-25, 20-25, 25-21, 25-20, 25-23) in a thriller on Sept. 23. The Athenas got their revenge on Oct. 20 in a dominating 3-0 (25-14, 25-20, 25-7) victory at home. In their second meeting, the Athenas finished with a season-high 15 service aces led by Clara Madsen's six.
No. 2 La Verne Leopards – 18-8, 11-5
How they got here: The La Verne Leopards earned the second-seed in the SCIAC Tournament thanks to an 11-5 record in the conference. The Leopards began conference play with a 9-2 record before hitting a rough patch at the end of the season with a 2-3 mark in their final five matches. La Verne went 3-3 against the other three playoff teams, including a pair of victories over Cal Lutheran.
Players to watch:
#1 - Marisa Rojo – Sr. – OH – First Team All-SCIAC – 277 kills, 2.69 kills per set, .250 hitting percentage, 23 service aces, 241 digs, 27 total blocks
#8 - Kristen Sanchez – Jr. – L – First Team All-SCIAC – 489 digs, 4.66 digs per set, 43 service aces, 93 assists
When they met: The two matches against La Verne were two dramatically different contests. In their first meeting on Sept. 22 the Athenas cruised to a 3-0 (25-16, 25-12, 25-12) sweep of the Leopards, but on Oct. 17, CMS had to battle their way to a 3-2 (17-25, 25-16, 24-26, 25-22, 15-10) victory to secure the season sweep. In their second meeting, Shelbi Stein finished with 12 kills to lead four Athenas with double-digit kills in the match.
No. 3 Cal Lutheran Regals – 15-11, 10-6
How they got here: After a tremendous season a year ago, the Cal Lutheran Regals got off to a little bit of a slower start this season. After 12 matches, the Regals held a 4-8 record. They rebounded nicely and finished the season with a 15-11 overall record and a 10-6 mark in the SCIAC. They finished the year in a three-way tie for third in the SCIAC but won the tie-breaker and took the third seed. Cal Lutheran holds just a 1-5 record against the other three SCIAC playoff teams. Their one win came against Chapman on Oct. 13 (3-1).
Players to watch:
#1 - Hope Stewart – Sr. – OH – First Team All-SCIAC – 253 kills, 2.78 kills per set, .213 hitting percentage, 152 digs, 1.67 digs per set, 29 total blocks
#18 - Molly Holloway – Sr. – MB – Second Team All-SCIAC – 209 kills, 2.15 kills per set, .295 hitting percentage, 48 digs, 62 total blocks, 12 solo blocks, 28 service aces
#4 - Amanda Roberts – Jr. – OH – Second Team All-SCIAC – 257 kills, 2.71 kills per set, .192 hitting percentage, 19 service aces, 90 digs
When they met: The Athenas picked up a pair of victories over the Regals in their two meetings this seasons. CMS earned a 3-1 (25-13, 17-25, 25-15, 25-21) at Cal Lutheran and then earned a 3-0 (25-11, 25-19, 25-11) sweep in the regular season finale. The Athenas were led in those matches by a couple of big performances. On Oct. 3, Margaux Arntson finished with 18 kills and a .417 hitting percentage while on Oct. 28, Shelbi Stein collected 16 kills in a three-set victory for CMS. Mikena Werner collected a total of 44 digs in the two matches combined.