SAN ANTONIO, Texas - Junior hitter Amanda Walker who was named the Tournament Most Valuable Player, had kills for the final three points of the match as the No. 4 ranked Claremont-Mudd-Scripps volleyball team outlasted Texas-Tyler 15-13 in the fifth for its fourth five-set win of the season on Saturday morning at the Trinity University Fall Classic. CMS followed that up with a four-set win over Texas Lutheran to finish unbeaten at the tournament with two five-set wins and two four-set wins.
With the twin victories, the Athenas improve to 7-1 on the year, including seven straight since an opening 3-2 loss to No. 6 Johnson & Wales. The other five set wins have included a 3-2 win over No. 14 Carthage, a 3-2 win over Brandeis (17-15 in the fifth) and a 3-2 win over host No. 5 Trinity yesterday on the first day of its Fall Classic.
The fifth set against Texas-Tyler featured wild momentum swings, as the Athenas raced out to a 4-0 lead behind two kills from freshman Jackie Jones and two aces from junior setter Phoebe Madsen. The Patriots, though, responded with a 5-0 run to take a 6-5 lead and then pushed it out to 9-6. After an excange of points made it 10-7, the Athenas came up with a big 3-0 run to tie it up, as Madsen and sophomore middle Melanie Moore combined on a block, followed by a Madsen kill and a Madsen assist to Walker.
Moore had a kill to tie it 11-11, and after an exchange of service errors, Texas-Tyler took a 13-12 lead on a Kaitlyn Budisalovich kill. From there, it was all Walker, as she tied it up with a kill, gave the Athenas a match point with a kill off a pass from junior libero Sarah Tritschler, and then finished off the match as Tritschler dug out a Patriot attack, passed it to Madsen, and Walker was able to connect down the middle for the winning point.
The Athenas trailed 1-0 after the first set before taking the second 25-17, and then fell behind 2-1 before evening it back up again 2-2 with a 25-19 win in the fourth. Walker also finished off the fourth set with a kill and a service ace for the final two points.
In the nightcap, Walker added 17 more kills to her day's work as the Athenas defeated Texas Lutheran 25-11, 22-25, 25-14, 25-15. CMS dominated the three sets it won by double-digit margins as it was a match devoid of much drama. After Texas Lutheran tied the set score up at a set apiece, the Athenas used a 6-0 run to pull ahead 10-4 in the third, with Walker tallying three kills during the spurt. Another 6-0 run, keyed by two Jones kills, made it 20-8 and the Athenas were able to coast to a 2-1 lead.
It took CMS longer to stretch their lead out in the fourth, as Texas Lutheran pulled even at 11-11. However, the Athenas dominated the rest of the way, using a 10-1 run to take control, with back-to-back blocks from sophomore Linden Conrad (one solo, one with Walker) turning the momentum.
Walker was named the MVP of the Trinity Fall Classic after her strong weekend, including the three-kill run to finish off the Texas-Tyler match. Moore was also named to the six-player All-Tournament team.
CMS will be back in action next week when it hosts the East-West Challenge, featuring a 7 p.m. match at Roberts Pavilion on Friday against Emory and two matches on Saturday against Texas-Dallas and Washington (Mo.).