CMS Volleyball Pulls Out Hard-Fought Four-Setter at Whittier

Sarah Tritschler's clutch defensive play in the third set swung the momentum of the match in a 3-1 win for CMS
Sarah Tritschler's clutch defensive play in the third set swung the momentum of the match in a 3-1 win for CMS

WHITTIER, Calif. - Senior libero Sarah Tritschler swung the match with a momentum-changing defensive play in the third set, as the No. 5 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps volleyball team outlasted Whittier in four sets on Friday evening, setting up a battle for first place with Chapman tomorrow at Roberts Pavilion.

Set scores were 25-13, 29-27, 27-25, 25-17 as the Athenas improve to 18-3 overall and 9-1 in the SCIAC with the win. Whittier slips to 8-13 overall and 3-7 in the SCIAC with the defeat. 

CMS cruised to a first-set win but Whittier battled back in the second set and prevailed 29-27 after multiple set points were fought off each way. The Poets took that momentum into the third set and build a quick 8-2 lead, which it held until the very end of the set. Leading 24-21, Whittier had three chances at a set point to take a 2-1 lead, but Tritschler came up with the defensive play of the match down 24-23, sprawling to keep a Whittier tip kill attempt alive with a diving dig and allowing the Athenas to tie the score later in the point on a kill from junior Lucila Grinspan

With the score tied 25-25, senior Amanda Walker gave CMS a set point with a kill, and Tritschler came up with her second big play of the set, getting the winning service ace to give it to the Athenas 27-25, swinging all the momentum back towards the visiting team. 

The Athenas then quickly took control in the fourth set, using a 9-0 run to jump out to an 11-3 lead and not letting up on its way to clinching the win. Walker had two kills and two blocks during the run, combining with junior Melanie Moore on both blocks. A third block from the duo made the score 19-10, and CMS was able to finish off the win at 25-17 on a Whittier error. 

Moore had 10 blocks to lead the defense, three of which were solo, while Tritschler had 20 digs to lead five Athenas in double figures. Walker led CMS with 17 kills, taking 50 swings and committing only one error (on an attack that hit the antenna). Grinspan had nine kills despite only playing in the third and fourth sets. Senior setter Phoebe Madsen just missed a triple-double, finishing with eight kills, 30 assists and 15 digs. 

CMS will host Chapman tomorrow at 4 p.m. at Roberts Pavilion with a chance to pull even atop the SCIAC standings. The Panthers improved to 10-0 in league play with a win over Redlands this evening and won the first meeting with CMS in five sets back on Oct. 2. If the Athenas win in less than five sets, they would pull even for first and take over the tiebreaker for the potential top seed in the conference tournament, due to fewer sets lost head-to-head.