CLAREMONT, Calif. - Tournament Most Valuable Player Melanie Moore had 10 kills in 16 attempts, including the kill on match point, to hit .625 for the match, as the No. 5 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps volleyball team won its third SCIAC Championship in a row with a 3-0 victory over Chapman on Saturday afternoon at Roberts Pavilion.
Set scores were 25-13, 25-23, 25-17 as CMS improves to 26-3 on the year and earns the SCIAC's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championships. The Athenas will find out where and who they play for the upcoming NCAA Regionals when the selection show takes place on Monday morning, while Chapman (23-5) will find out if its body of work is strong enough to earn an at-large bid.
Senior Amanda Walker had a team-high 12 kills, while junior Lucila Grinspan added 10. Senior Sarah Tritschler (18), senior setter Phoebe Madsen (14) and junior defensive specialist Makenna Fall (10) were each in double figures in digs, while Moore added a team-high five blocks to go with her 10 kills. Madsen had 22 assists, and first-year Spencer Hagenbuch added 19 for the Athenas, who shot .303 as a team.
CMS trailed by seven points in the third set at 15-8, but stormed back with an 8-0 run to take the lead at 16-15. Walker had three kills in a row during the run, the last of which tied the score 15-15, while an ace from senior Lina Aluzri gave the Athenas a 16-15 lead.
After an exchange of points tied the score 17-17, CMS went on another 8-0 run to wrap up the match. Moore had four kills and a solo block during the spurt, getting the solo block to make the score 24-17 and then finishing off the match with her tenth kill to finish off a 17-2 run over the final 19 points to win the third set 25-17.
VB: Athenas WIN!— CMS Athletics (@AthleticsCMS) November 10, 2019
CMS takes the SCIAC finals with a 3-0 sweep of Chapman! The Athenas are tourney champs for the third straight season!
(25-13, 25-23, 25-17)#GoAthenas #GoCMS pic.twitter.com/oq4Noc3AW3
"I think we just all got in the right mindset," said Moore of the team's decisive third-set spurt. "Lina Aluzri made some big plays, and we just decided that this is our time to win a title."
The second set was the tightest of the match, but sophomore Jackie Jones came up with a clutch kill at 24-23 to give CMS the win and a 2-0 lead. The Athenas led 23-19 before Chapman had the next three points to creep within 23-22, A kill from Grinspan gave CMS a 24-22 advantage and after Chapman fought off the first set point, Jones swung off the block and down for the final point of the set.
CMS rolled to a 25-13 win in the first set, breaking it open with a 6-0 run to take a 13-8 lead early on, with Grinspan tallying two kills during the stretch. With the score 15-11, CMS went on another 6-0 run as Moore had a block and back-to-back kills to stretch the lead to 20-11 before a JOnes kill capped off the run. Madsen's kill made it 24-13, and she then combined with Moore on a block to wrap up the set, as CMS hit a whopping .552 with 17 kills in 29 attempts and only one error over the first set.
CMS will now await its NCAA destination when the selection show takes place on Monday morning. The Athenas won their first national championship in 2017, and last year made it to the round of 32 before being knocked off by Wisconsin Eau Claire.
"I think we have all the skills, we have all the talent, we have all the passion for the game together," said Moore of her team's potential to make another deep NCAA Tournament run. "All we have to do is just put the mindset in and know that we can do it."