SAINT PETER, Minn. - The defending national champion Claremont-Mudd-Scripps volleyball team clicked on all cylinders as it began its title defense with a 25-17, 25-16, 25-14 win over Augsburg in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday afternoon at Gustavus Adolphus.
CMS improves to 27-3 on the season with the win, as the Athenas hit .429 for the match while committing only six errors (none in the second set). Sophomore middle Melanie Moore hit .750 with 12 kills in 16 attempts and no errors to lead the way, while sophomore outside hitter Lucila Grinspan (10-1-18, .500) and junior opposite Amanda Walker (11-0-24, .458) had big days as well.
The Athenas will advance to tomorrow's second round (11:30 a.m. PST), when it will meet the winner of the opening round match between No. 15 Wisconsin-Eau Claire and Saint Thomas (Minn.). Ausgburg sees its season end with a 22-9 record.
"I'm just really proud of this team," said head coach Kurt Vlasich after the match. "Coming into a tournament where we're traveling and on the road, I think we were pretty excited to come out here and play these teams. You don't know a whole lot about them, so there's a certain level of anxiety there, but I was really proud of how this team came out and handled themselves and handled our side of the net."
The first set saw CMS take control with a 7-1 run, turning a 5-5 tie into a 12-6 advantage. Moore had a kill and block to make the score 8-5, and after an Augsburg point, Grinspan had two straight points to stretch the lead to 10-6. The Augies used a 4-0 run to close to within 16-12, but junior setter Phoebe Madsen had two service aces around a Walker kill to answer right back with a 4-0, and CMS was able to go on to a 25-17 win, with Moore finishing the set off with a kill.
A 5-0 run early in the second set gave the Athenas control as they bumped an 8-7 lead up to 13-7. Madsen capped off that run with another ace, after consecutive kills from freshman Jackie Jones and Walker, both off assists from junior libero Sarah Tritschler. Augsburg stayed within 16-11, but Moore had two straight kills to start a 3-0 run and CMS was able to coast to a 25-16 win and a 2-0 lead.
The third set saw the Athenas use a 5-0 run to take a 10-5 lead on a Grinspan kill, and then a 7-0 run to push the margin up to 17-7 on a Walker kill. Grinspan capped off the match with two straight kills for a 25-14 win in the third and a 3-0 sweep.
"I felt like we passed the ball pretty well, and we defended really well," Vlasich said. "I thought our serving was pretty outstanding. I thought we put some pressure on the opponent in certain sections, and that allowed us to separate and build a lead."
Madsen finished with 25 assists and nine digs, as well as five service aces to give her a team high 66 on the year. Tritschler had a season-high 11 assists despite being held to single digits in digs (nine) for only the fourth time all season.
CMS has now won seven straight NCAA matches, including the six in a row to win the title last year, and 11 straight postseason matches, including the last two SCIAC Tournament. They will look to extend those streaks tomorrow in the second round to try to get one step closer to repeating as national champions.