Walker, Madsen Lead CMS Volleyball to Five-Set Win over Cal Lutheran

Amanda Walker matched her career high with 23 kills in a five-set win over Cal Lutheran
Amanda Walker matched her career high with 23 kills in a five-set win over Cal Lutheran

CLAREMONT, Calif. - Senior Amanda Walker matched her career high with 23 kills and senior Phoebe Madsen had a triple-double with 11 kills, 35 assists and 16 digs to lead the No. 5 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps volleyball team to a 3-2 win over Cal Lutheran on Tuesday evening at Roberts Pavilion.

Set scores were 25-22, 25-15, 18-25, 26-28, 15-8 as the Athenas bounced back from losing out on four match points in the fourth set to control the fifth and improve to 17-3 overall and 8-1 in the SCIAC. Cal Lutheran slips to 11-9 overall and 5-4 in conference play with the loss. 

Walker matched her career high of 23 kills which she set last year against Whittier, while shattering her previous season-high of 15 kills which she accomplished twice, including in a three-set win over No. 1 Emory on Sept. 13. Madsen picked up her fifth triple-double of the season, while tallying a season-high in assists with 35, and adding four aces and four block assists to record a season-high 17 points.  

CMS had to bounce back from dropping the third set 28-26, after holding a 24-21 lead with three match points in hand. Cal Lutheran fought off those three points and extended its run to 4-0 to earn a set point of its own at 25-24. Back-to-back kills from first-year outside hitter Izzy Sakoda and Walker made the score 26-25 and gave CMS its fourth match point, but Cal Lutheran earned the next three points, with Sarah Hein getting a kill and a block in the run, to push the match to a fifth and decisive set. 

CMS won eight matches in five sets a year ago, but was 0-2 so far this season, with 3-2 defeats to Augsburg and Chapman accounting for two of its three losses on the year (the other a 3-1 loss to Juniata). This time the Athenas were able to raise their level in the fifth set, taking control early by jumping out to a 7-2 lead. After Cal Lutheran earned the first point, Sakoda had two straight kills to make it a 2-1 CMS lead, and Walker added two more kills in the run to help make it 7-2. 

The Regals made one final rally to close within 7-5, but junior Lucila Grinspan stopped the run with a clutch kill to push the margin to 8-5.  A Walker kill and two Cal Lutheran errors capped off a 4-0 run to make it 11-5, and Madsen answered two Cal Lutheran points with her 10th and 11th kills to bring the score to 14-7 and set up match point. The Regals earned a sideout to fight off their fifth match point of the night, but the fifth-set hole was too big to overcome, as Madsen and junior middle Melanie Moore combined on the final block to take the set 15-8 and the match 3-2. 

Walker got off to a torrid start early, earning kills on all seven of her attacks in the first set to help CMS to a tight 25-22 win in a set which saw it hit .457 (18 kills in 35 attempts with only two errors). The Athenas led 22-15 before Cal Lutheran earned six points in a row to close to within a single point, but Madsen stopped the run with a kill, and then with the score 23-22, she assisted Sakoda and Walker on the final two kills of the set. 

The second set saw Cal Lutheran jump out to a 10-5 lead before CMS went on a dominant run, winning 20 of the final 25 points of the set to take a 2-0 lead. An 8-0 run turned a 13-10 deficit into an 18-13 lead with Madsen tallying three aces during the spurt. Junior middle Regan Dinovitz had two unassisted kills off of overpasses to get CMS to 20 points, and Moore had two straight kills to push the lead to 23-15. An ace from senior libero Sarah Tritschler brought the Athenas to set point, and a Cal Lutheran error wrapped it up at 25-15 to give CMS a 2-0 lead heading into intermission, before Cal Lutheran rallied back to tie. 

Moore had a strong day in the middle for CMS with 11 kills in 22 attempts and a season-high eight blocks. Tritschler had a team-high 19 digs and added 13 assists from her libero position, while senior Lina Aluzri had 14 digs. 

CMS will be back in action on Friday when it travels to Whittier for a 7 p.m. contest, and then returns home to face Chapman on Saturday at 4 p.m. The Panthers improved to 9-0 in SCIAC play on Tuesday with a win over Occidental, and the Athenas can move back into a tie for first if it can win its last two matches this week.