GEORGETOWN, Texas – The No. 6 Claremont- Mudd-Scripps Athenas are moving on the Georgetown Regional Final after defeating the No. 5 Southwestern Pirates 3-1 (23-25, 25-20, 27-25, 25-14) on Saturday afternoon. It was an edge-of-your-seat battle the entire way through, but in the end, the Athenas prevailed and will square off with No. 1 Colorado College on Sunday with a trip to the National Quarterfinals on the line.
Led by Margaux Arntson's (CMC) 13 kills, the Athenas put together one of their more balanced attacks of the season with five different players collecting at least 10 kills. Clara Madsen (CMC), Phoebe Madsen (CMC), and Mikena Werner (SC) all tallied double-doubles in the match.
The opening set of the match went to the Pirates by a score of 25-23, but it was a late push in the set that gave the Athenas some momentum for the remainder of contest. CMS trailed 21-13 late in the set, but a kill from Isabelle Taylor (CMC) started a 10-3 run that closed the gap to just one at 24-23. A kill from Southwestern's Kate Mitchell ended the improbable CMS run and gave the set to the Pirates.
Momentum from the opening set did not initially show on the scoreboard early in the second set, but as the set began to unfold, CMS started flexing their muscle. Trailing 8-6 early in the set, Margaux Arntson got the Athenas on track with a kill off a toss from Phoebe Madsen. That kill started a 13-4 CMS run that put the visitors in the driver's seat at 19-12.
Just as the Athenas did in the opening set, the Pirates attempted a heroic comeback at the end of the second game. Three late errors dashed those hopes and CMS took the set 25-20 to even the match at 1-1.
In the ever important third set, CMS jumped out to a quick 12-6 lead thanks to kills from four different Athenas. All night long, the Athenas spread their attack around to a wide variety of offensive threats to keep the Southwestern defense on their toes.
Using that balanced attack, the Athenas continued to hold a comfortable lead late into the third set. Leading 23-17, it felt as if the Athenas had already taken the 2-1 lead, but playing in front of their home crowd, the Pirates rallied with an 8-1 run. The run turned the tables and forced a set point in their favor at 25-24.
The Athenas took a timeout to regroup. The timeout was just what the doctor ordered, as CMS rattled off the next three points to claim the set 27-25. Regan Dinovitz (CMC) and Isabelle Taylor closed off the set in empathic fashion with a block of Piper Sisemore to give CMS a 2-1 lead in the match.
The late 3-0 run for the Athenas at the end of the third set, seemed to take all the air out of the Pirates' sails. The fourth set was tight early on, but three-straight CMS points turned an 8-8 tie into an 11-8 Athenas' lead and the Pirates were never able to get back in the match. The Athenas ended the game on a 17-6 run to take the set 25-14 and the match 3-1.
The Athenas will have a quick turnaround, as the take the floor at high-noon tomorrow for a shootout with the top-ranked Colorado College Tigers in the Georgetown Regional Final.