Regular Season Champs! CMS Volleyball Earns Another League Title with 3-0 Sweep of Pomona-Pitzer

Regular Season Champs! CMS Volleyball Earns Another League Title with 3-0 Sweep of Pomona-Pitzer

CLAREMONT, Calif. - The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps volleyball team took a 3-0 win over Pomona-Pitzer on Wednesday at Voelkel Gymnasium to clinch its fourth straight regular season SCIAC title, as well as its second straight outright title (after earning co-championships with Cal Lutheran in 2015 and 2016).

Set scores were 25-22, 25-11, 26-24 as CMS held off a challenge from the Sagehens in the third set to end the match in three. With the win, the defending national champion Athenas improve to 22-3 overall and 13-1 in the SCIAC, holding a three-game lead in the loss column over Chapman with just two matches remaining. Pomona-Pitzer falls to 12-14 overall and 9-5 in the conference with the loss. 

Junior Amanda Walker led the way offensively for the Athenas with 12 kills, while sophomore Melanie Moore added 11 in 21 attempts. Junior setter Phoebe Madsen had 30 assists, while junior libero Sarah Tritschler came through with 22 digs in three sets. 

Pomona-Pitzer made a strong bid to prolong the match, taking a 24-23 lead in the third set on a service ace to earn a set point. Madsen, though, came through with a kill off an assist from sophomore setter Jessica Lee to erase the match point and tie the score 24-24. Madsen then went back to serve and assisted on a kill from Walker to give the Athenas their first match point, and they took advantage with sophomore Regan Dinovitz and Walker combining on the winning block to seal the 26-24 third-set win. 

The first set was a tight battle with CMS clinging to a 20-19 lead late in the set before a 3-0 run gave it control. Freshman Jackie Jones started the run with a kill, and Walker followed with back-to-back kills to give CMS the 23-19 lead. Pomona-Pitzer earned the next two points before a service error set up three set points. The Sagehens fought off the first one, but Moore came through for a kill to give the Athenas a 25-22 win and a 1-0 lead. 

The second set had little drama as CMS used a 7-0 run to jump out to a quick 10-4 lead, with Madsen getting a pair of service aces. The Sagehens pulled to within 10-6, before CMS uncorked a 9-0 run to run away with the set. Dinovitz and Walker combined on two blocks in the run, with each adding a kill as well, while junior Lina Aluzri added a service ace. Madsen and Dinovitz then finished it off with kills for the final two points of the set. 

CMS has now won its last five matches by 3-0 sweeps, since suffering a 3-2 defeat to Cal Lutheran. The Athenas had won their previous seven five-setters before falling to the Regals on the road, and have since played the mininum 15 sets to earn their last five wins. 

CMS will play its final home match of the 2018 regular season on Friday night when it hosts Whittier at 7 p.m., before traveling to Chapman on Saturday in the regular season finale. The Athenas will then be the top seed in the SCIAC Tournament and host a Thursday night semifinal next week, with the chance to host the championship match on Saturday, Nov. 3 with a win.