CMS Volleyball Bounces Back from Five-Set Loss to Defeat St. Olaf 3-1

Sarah Tritschler was named to the Pacific Coast Classic All-Tournament team after 59 digs on Saturday
Sarah Tritschler was named to the Pacific Coast Classic All-Tournament team after 59 digs on Saturday

CLAREMONT, Calif. - The No. 5 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps volleyball team dropped a hard-fought 3-2 decision to Augsburg in its first match of the day, but came back to defeat St. Olaf in the nightcap 3-1 to close out the Pacific Coast Classic with a 3-1 record on Saturday at Roberts Pavilion.

Set scores against Augsburg were 25-18, 15-25, 25-17, 20-25, 16-14 in favor of the Auggies, after the Athenas fought off four match points to get level at 14-14 in the fifth. The Athenas then defeated St. Olaf 25-16, 25-22, 20-25, 25-15 to avoid their first two-match losing skid since early in the 2017 season (which later resulted in a national title for CMS). 

Senior setter/right side Phoebe Madsen and senior libero Sarah Tritschler were selected to the All-Tournament team for helping the Athenas to a 3-1 mark. Madsen had her second triple-double of the weekend against Augsburg with 11 kills, 28 assists and 17 digs and almost had her third with nine kills, 25 assists and 14 digs against St. Olaf. Tritschler, meanwhile, had 30 digs against Augsburg and 29 against St. Olaf to pace the CMS defense. 

The Athenas forced a fifth set against Augsburg with a 25-20 in the fourth and jumped out to an 8-4 lead in the fifth before the Auggies were able to take the momentum. Augsburg surged ahead 14-10 to set up four match points, but the Athenas came back to tie it 14-14 after a kill from junior Lucila Grinspan, who also kept CMS in the match with a sprawling dig with the score still 14-10. A sideout gave Augsburg its fifth match point, though, and this time it was able to take advantage as Kayla Gjerde finished it off with a kill. 

CMS had a balanced attack in the losing effort with five different players registering double figures in kills. Grinspan had 13 to lead the way (in 24 attempts), followed by senior Amanda Walker with 12 and Madsen with 11. First-year Izzy Sakoda and junior Regan Dinovitz were also in double figures with 10 kills apiece. 

The second match of the day saw CMS take on St. Olaf, which picked up three wins over SCIAC teams earlier in the tournament, knocking off Chapman, La Verne and Cal Lutheran. CMS asserted itself quickly with a 25-16 win in the first set, jumping out to a 9-2 lead after five straight kills, including two apiece from first-year Sonia Bliss and two from Walker. CMS built up a 10-point lead on a kill from sophomore Melanie Williams at 22-12 before setting for the 25-16 win. 

The Athenas added another win in the second set to go ahead 2-0. The score was tied 12-12 midway through the set before CMS slowly built a working margin, going ahead 21-16 after two straight service aces from Tritschler. The Oles got back within 23-21, but Williams had a kill to bring it to set point, and after Illinois Wesleyan fought off the first one, Madsen finished it off off an assist from first-year setter Spencer Hagenbuch

St. Olaf stayed in the match by using a late 6-0 run in the third set to turn a 19-8 deficit into a 24-19 lead before taking the set 25-20. However, CMS was able to get the momentum back in the fourth, using a 5-0 run to pull ahead 11-6 on a Sakoda kill. With the score 21-15, the Athenas closed out with four points in a row, with two kills from Walker and a block from Dinovitz paving the way. 

Walker finished with a team-high 15 kills, with Dinovitz also in double figures with 10. Hagenbuch finished with 17 assists to support Madsen with 25 and Dinovitz had six blocks defensively. 

CMS will be back in action next weekend when it travels to the Cal Lu Fornia Invitational in Thousand Oaks, hosted by Cal Lutheran.