NCAA Tournament Begins Friday in Texas for Athenas

NCAA Tournament Begins Friday in Texas for Athenas

2017 Georgetown Regional Homepage

CLAREMONT, Calif. - The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's volleyball team is making their fifth-straight trip to the NCAA Tournament and ninth appearance in program history. This year's journey begins in Georgetown, Texas on the campus of Southwestern University with one of the toughest regionals in the country. The grouping features eight teams with four squads ranked in the top six in the most recent AVCA National Rankings.

The No. 6 Athenas square off with Texas-Dallas in the opening round on Friday afternoon at 5:30 p.m. CT/3:30 p.m. PT. The contest is a rematch from Sept. 2, when the Athenas swept the Comets 3-0 (25-15, 22-11, 25-10) in Roberts Pavilion.

On Saturday, the CMS vs. Texas-Dallas winner will take on the winner from the No. 5 Southwestern vs. Whittier match in the Regional Semifinals.

See below for a snapshot of the eight teams in the Georgetown Regional:


No. 6 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Athenas

Location: Claremont, CA

Head Coach: Kurt Vlasich (Seventh Season)

NCAA Appearances: Ninth

2017 Record: 25-5, 15-1 SCIAC

Last NCAA Result: 2016, First Round: defeated by Colorado College 3-1

Roster  |  Schedule  |  Stats

Matches vs. NCAA Tournament Teams

9/1 vs. Brockport 3-0 W

9/1 vs. Millikin  3-1 L

9/2 vs. Texas-Dallas 3-0 W

9/8 vs. Pacific Lutheran 3-2 W

9/8 vs. Trinity (TX) 3-1 L

9/15 vs. Juniata 3-1 W

9/15 at Emory 3-1 L

9/30 vs. Whittier 3-0 W

10/27 at Whittier 3-0 W

About the Athenas:

The Athenas played one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the country, squaring off with nine teams that are in the 2017 Tournament. The Athenas went 6-3 in those matches including four sweeps. CMS is riding a 16-matching winning streak, dating back to Sept. 23. The Athenas have swept their last seven matches, including both the SCIAC Semifinals vs. Chapman and Finals vs. Cal Lutheran.

The Athenas are led by five All-SCIAC selections, including the SCIAC Athlete of the Year Margaux Arntson. On the season, Arntson has 266 kills and a .326 hitting percentage as an opposite hitter. She is just 12 kills away from 1,000 in her career. Joining Arntson with All-Conference accolades were setter Clara Madsen (First Team), libero Mikena Werner (First Team), middle blocker Melanie Moore (First Team), and opposite hitter Shelbi Stein (Second Team).

University of Texas - Dallas Comets

Location: Richardson, TX

Head Coach: Marci Allison (14th Season)

NCAA Appearances: Sixth

2017 Record: 24-10, 13-3 American Southwest Conference

Last NCAA Result: 2016, Regional Championships: defeated by Southwestern 3-2

Roster  |  Schedule  |  Stats

Matches vs. NCAA Tournament Teams

9/2 at CMS 3-0 L

10/2 vs. Illinois Wesleyan 3-2 L

10/27 at Trinity (TX) 3-1 L

About the Comets:

Texas-Dallas lost two starters due to injury before the 2017 season began and had to battle their way through the regular season. They won the American Southwestern Conference (ASC) East Division and fought their way through the conference tournament before earning the Automatic Qualifier in a 3-0 (25-17, 25-22, 25-23) sweep of Mary Hardin Baylor.

Senior Emma Wallbrown leads the Comets after being named ASC East's Most Valuable Player. She is averaging 2.94 kills and holds a .364 hitting percentage entering the Tournament. Alana Geymer, who was honored as the ASC East Freshman of the Year, is second on the team with 2.28 kills per set while junior Sydney Riordan adds 2.24 kills per set. Sophomore Lauren Schilling leads UTD with 0.96 blocks per set while sophomore Briana Tully averaged a team-high 4.14 digs per set.

No. 5 Southwestern Pirates

Location: Georgetown, TX

Head Coach: Don Flora (Second Season)

NCAA Appearances: 15th

2017 Record: 29-5, 11-3 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference

Last NCAA Result: 2016, National Semifinals: defeated by Washington - St. Louis 3-0

Roster  |  Schedule  |  Stats

Matches vs. NCAA Tournament Teams

9/8 vs. Christopher Newport 3-2 W

9/22 vs. Trinity (TX) 3-1 L

10/1 vs. Colorado College 3-2 L

10/14 at Trinity (TX) 3-2 W

10/21 vs. Colorado College 3-2 L

11/3 vs. Trinity (TX) 3-2 L

About the Pirates:

Every National Ranking this season has featured the Pirates in the top-five. Southwestern have played a tough schedule with all five of their losses coming against three teams. SCAC foes Trinity (TX) and Colorado College each have beaten the Pirates twice this season, while Our Lady of the Lake (NAIA) accounts for the only other blemish on the Southwestern schedule. In four of their five losses, the match went five sets. On Sept. 22, Trinity topped the Pirates 3-1 for the only loss in less than five sets on the season for Southwestern. The Pirates do hold a pair of victories against Tournament teams with wins over Christopher Newport and Trinity (TX).

The Pirates are led defensively by the SCAC Backrow Player of the Year, junior libero Brandi Campos. On the season, Campos leads Southwestern with 608 digs and averages 4.86 per set. In the front row, Kate Mitchell and Piper Sisemore were named First Team All-SCAC from their outside hitter and middle blocker positions. Mitchell leads the Pirates with 386 kills and an impressive .310 hitting percentage while Sisemore has 271 kills, .338 hitting percentage, and 89 blocks. Also keep an eye on Second Team All-SCAC setter Megan Grimes and her 1,268 assists (10.06 per set) on the season.

Whittier College Poets

Location: Whittier, CA

Head Coach: Chris Duarte-McDermott (Fifth Season)

NCAA Appearances: First

2017 Record: 18-9, 10-6 SCIAC

Last NCAA Result: n/a


Roster  |  Schedule  |  Stats

Matches vs. NCAA Tournament Teams

9/1 at Colorado College 3-0 L

9/2 vs. Ithaca 3-1 W

9/2 vs. Pacific Lutheran 3-0 W

9/9 vs. Trinity (TX) 3-2 W

9/30 at CMS 3-0 L

10/27 vs. CMS 3-0 L

About the Poets:

The Poets are making their first ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament after being selected as an At-Large bid for the 2017 Tournament. A familiar foe for the Athenas, Whittier was left on the outside looking in at the SCIAC playoff picture, but the National Committee saw enough out of the Poets in the regular season to earn a spot in the National Tournament.

Whittier is led by offensively by First Team All-SCIAC outside hitter Makenzie Thieme. She enters the Tournament with 335 kills and a .183 hitting percentage. Joining Thieme with All-Conference honors were Ashley Whittall (Second Team) and Camryn Purdom (Second Team). Whittall collected 189 kills while averaging 3.20 kills per set to be named Freshman of the Year in the SCIAC. From the setter position, Purdom dished out 412 assists, while collecting 156 digs and 21 service aces.

No. 1 Colorado College Tigers

Location: Colorado Springs, CO

Head Coach: Rick Swan (20th Season)

NCAA Appearances: 28th

2017 Record: 31-1, 14-0 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference

Last NCAA Result: 2016, Regionals Semifinals: defeated by Southwestern 3-0


Roster  |  Schedule  |  Stats

Matches vs. NCAA Tournament Teams

9/1 vs. Whittier 3-0 W

9/1 vs. Ithaca 3-1 W

9/16 vs. Calvin 3-0 W

9/16 vs. Arora 3-1 W

9/30 vs. Trinity (TX) 3-0 W

10/1 vs. Southwestern 3-2 W

10/21 vs. Southwestern 3-2 W

10/22 vs. Trinity (TX) 3-0 W

11/4 vs. Trinity (TX) 3-2 W

About the Tigers:

The Tigers are the team to beat. Colorado College comes into the 2017 NCAA Tournament with a 31-1 record with their only loss coming against NCAA Division II Colorado Christian University in in four sets on Oct. 4. Outside of that loss against Colorado Christian, the Tigers have been perfect. While they have had some close calls (six five-set matches), they have won every match against a Division III opponent this season and arrive in the NCAA Tournament as the No. 1 team in the country. With 31 wins this season, the Tigers have reached 30 wins for the fourth time in the last five seasons.

Headlining the Tigers are five players who earned All-Conference honors. Sophomore setter Lizzy Counts was named Offensive Player of the Year and was joined on the First Team by junior right side hitter Aria Dudley. Senior middle hitter Glenna Yancey and sophomore outside hitters Haley Harris and Jordan Mullen made Second Team All-SCAC.

New Rochelle Blue Angels

Location: New Rochelle, NY

Head Coach: Alyssa Kaufman (Second Season)

NCAA Appearances: Second

2017 Record: 20-10, 4-0 Hudson Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Conference

Last NCAA Result: 2016: defeated by Emory in the First Round 3-0


Roster  |  Schedule  |  Stats

Matches vs. NCAA Tournament Teams

9/30 vs. Hunter 3-0 L

10/4 vs. Hunter 3-0 L

About the Blue Angels:

The Blue Angels arrive in Texas in search of the first victory in the NCAA Tournament in program history. New Rochelle made the tournament last season, but squared off with Emory in the First Round and lost the Eagles in straight sets. This season, the First Round test is just as hard with the Tigers on the docket in the opening round. New Rochelle enters the tournament on a 10-match winning streak and claim their spot by winning the Hudson Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championships last weekend.

Led by Imani DeBose (294 kills) and Cristal Liciaga (286 kills), New Rochelle has five different players with at least 125 kills this season. Liciaga has also dished out 344 assists this season, sharing the setter duties with Melanie Lopez Soto (546 assists) this season. Fabiola Padilla leads the team with 322 digs.

No. 4 Trinity University (TX) Tigers

Location: San Antonio, TX

Head Coach: Julie Jenkins (33rd Season)

NCAA Appearances: 23rd

2017 Record: 27-7, 11-3 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference

Last NCAA Result: 2016, First Round: defeated by Hendrix 3-1


Roster  |  Schedule  |  Stats

Matches vs. NCAA Tournament Teams

9/1 vs. Calvin 3-0 L

9/8 vs. CMS 3-1 W

9/9 vs. Whittier 3-2 L

9/22 at Southwestern 3-1 W

9/30 vs. Colorado College 3-0 L

10/14 vs. Southwestern 3-2 L

10/21 at Colorado College 3-0 L

10/27 vs. Texas-Dallas 3-1 W

11/3 vs. Southwestern 3-2 W

11/4 vs. Colorado College 3-2 L

About the Tigers:

Trinity enters the Tournament ranked as the No. 4 team in the country. The Tigers have lost seven games this season, but six of those setbacks have come against teams in the NCAA Tournament field this season and their seventh loss came against Division II St. Mary's (TX). The Tigers dropped the SCAC Championship Match in a heartbreaking 3-2 (22-25, 18-25, 25-19, 25-23, 15-13) match against Colorado College.

The Tigers are led by three First Team All-SCAC players with senior outside hitters Kirby Smith (376 kills, .242 hitting percentage) and Maeline McKay (274 kills, .240 hitting percentage) pacing the offense. Defensive specialist Sarah Mullens joined the hitting duo on First Team. Mullens has 576 digs on the season and is average 4.65 per set. She has also collected 80 service aces to lead the Tigers. Another player to watch is freshman Avery Tuggle (237 kills), who was named SCAC Co-Freshman of the Year as an outside hitter.

Pacific Lutheran Lutes  

Location: Tacoma, WA

Head Coach: Kevin Aoki (22nd Season)

NCAA Appearances: 11th

2017 Record: 20-4, 14-2 Northwest Conference

Last NCAA Result: 2014, First Round: defeated by Colorado College 3-1


Roster  |  Schedule  |  Stats

Matches vs. NCAA Tournament Teams

9/1 vs. St. Thomas 3-0 W

9/2 vs. Saint Benedict 3-1 W

9/2 vs. Clarkson 3-1 W

9/8 vs. CMS 3-2 L

9/8 vs. Whittier 3-0 L

About the Lutes:

This weekend Pacific Lutheran will face their toughest test in over two months when they take the floor against Trinity. The Lutes have an impressive 20-4 record on the season and a 3-2 mark against teams in the NCAA Tournament, but all five of those matches against 2017 Tournament teams came in the season's first two weekends. Since dropping matches to CMS and Whittier on Sept. 8, the Lutes are 16-2 and are ready for their next test after winning the Northwest Conference.

The Lutes are led by senior setter, and Northwest Player of the Year, Kiana Calles. So far this season, Calles has tossed 827 assists on the season and is averaging just under 10 assists per set at 9.96. Three other Lutes earned All-Conference honors from the NWC with libero Caylie Shiramizu, outside hitter Chole Epker, and middle blocker Mackenzie Harris earning Second Team.