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Phoebe Madsen Named SCIAC Volleyball Athlete of the Year; Four Athenas Named All-SCIAC

Phoebe Madsen Named SCIAC Volleyball Athlete of the Year; Four Athenas Named All-SCIAC

CLAREMONT, Calif. - Junior setter/outside hitter Phoebe Madsen was named the SCIAC Volleyball Athlete of the Year, and head coach Kurt Vlasich and the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps staff repeated as the SCIAC Coaching Staff of the Year for the second year in a row, it was announced today by the conference office.

Madsen was joined on the All-SCIAC first team for the Athenas by junior outsite hitter Amanda Walker and sophomore middle hitter Melanie Moore, while junior libero Sarah Tritschler earned a spot on the second team. 

Madsen earned the SCIAC Athlete of the Year honor after filling a variety of roles in leading a senior-less CMS team to a 24-3 overall record and a 15-1 mark in SCIAC. She served as the teams primary setter and tallied 833 assists on the year (7.86 per set) but would often move to outside hitter when she rotated to the front row. She finished the regular season with 156 kills (after only four all of last year when she never played in the front row), and had a .267 hitting percentage. She also added a team-high 56 service aces, was second in digs with 310 (2.92 per set) and added 48 blocks (0.45 per set). 

Vlasich and staff (assistant Morgan Coberly, Shayla Chalker and Jack Coberly) repeated as the Coaching Staff of the Year after keeping the Athenas atop the SCIAC, and in the top 10 nationally (currently No. 6), with a revamped line-up. CMS graduated eight seniors off of last year's national championship team, and dealt with numerous injuries, as returning starter Isabelle Taylor and touted freshman Melanie Williams have seen very limited action this season with injuries, while returning starter Regan Dinovitz missed the first 13 matches as well. Despite the adversity and the young roster, Vlasich and staff led CMS to a 24 wins, including 15 in conference (and an 8-2 mark in five-setters), improving the program's overall record to 55-8 over the last two seasons.  

Moore had a big sophomore season for CMS to earn first-team All-SCIAC honors, hitting a team high .325 on the year with 2.40 kills per set, to go along with 93 blocks (0.95 per set). She was also particularly effective in the clutch, earning the winning kills in the fifth sets of three different nail-biters (18-16 over Brandeis, 15-13 over La Verne and 16-14 over Whittier). She increased her kills average in SCIAC play to 2.61 per set, as well as her blocks to 1.08 per set. She had a high of 17 kills at Cal Lutheran, and added 13 kills and a season-high eight blocks (including the winning solo block on match point) in a 3-1 win over No. 6 Emory. 

Walker had a huge role in the CMS success this season, stepping into the void left by the graduation of last year's senior class and becoming the top offensive weapon for the Athenas. Walker finished the regular season with 363 kills (3.59 per set), 128 more than her closest teammate (Moore with 235), while hitting a strong .239 with her high usage rate (991 attacks). She also contributed 124 digs and 66 blocks during the regular season, and averaged 3.75 kills per set with a .258 percentage in conference play. Fourteen times this season she tallied 15 or more kills in a match, with a high of 23 at Whittier. 

Tritschler stepped into the starting libero role this year as a junior captain and averaged over five digs per set (5.07) to lead the CMS defense. She had an impressive 40-dig performance in only four sets in a 3-1 win over Cal Lutheran, the first 40-dig effort for an Athena since the 2015 season (which came in five sets). Her dig average increased to 5.73 per set in SCIAC play, which also included 38 in a 3-2 win at Whittier and 32 in a 3-2 win at La Verne. She had double figures in digs in 25 of 27 matches, falling short only in a 3-0 win over Caltech when she played one set, and in a 3-0 win at Redlands, when she had nine.

CMS will begin postseason play on Thursday, when it hosts La Verne for a SCIAC Tournament semifinal match at 7 p.m. at Roberts Pavilion. If the Athenas win, they will then host the SCIAC Championship match on Saturday at 6 p.m. against the winner of the other semifinal between Cal Lutheran and Chapman.