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Amanda Walker had 21 kills to lead CMS to a first-round win (photo by Norman Cohen)
Amanda Walker had 21 kills to lead CMS to a first-round win (photo by Norman Cohen)

CMS Volleyball Moves on to NCAA Second Round with 3-1 Win over WashU

CHICAGO, Ill. - Senior Amanda Walker had 21 kills and senior Phoebe Madsen had her eighth triple-double of the season with 11 kills, 26 assists and 19 digs as the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps volleyball team began its 2019 NCAA Division III Tournament with a 3-1 win over Washington (Mo.) University on Friday afternoon at the University of Chicago.

Set scores were 25-21, 25-20, 24-26, 25-22 as CMS improves to 27-3 on the season with the win, with junior middle hitter Melanie Moore accounting for the final two CMS points in the fourth set with kills. The Athenas will move on to tomorrow's second round of the NCAA Chicago Regional, where they will meet the winner of the Carthage-Grinnell opening round match at 2:30 p.m. local time (12:30 p.m. Pacific). WashU sees its season end at 24-9 with the defeat. 

Walker was just two kills shy of her career high of 23, set last year against Whittier and matched earlier this season against Cal Lutheran. She tallied her 21 kills on 46 attempts, hitting a team-high .370 for the match, just ahead of Moore's .368 on 10 kills in 19 attempts. 

CMS took the first two sets, but had to regroup after the Bears outlasted the Athenas for a 26-24 win in the third. The Athenas never trailed in the fourth set, jumping out to a 3-0 lead and then using a key 5-0 run to turn a 9-9 tie into a 14-9 advantage. Walker had kills to account for three of the five points in the run, while sophomore Jackie Jones also had a kill. 

A Madsen kill gave CMS its largest lead of the fourth set at 17-11 before the Bears made a run to put heavy pressure on the Athenas down the stretch. With the score 21-17, Leila King had a kill to start a 3-0 run and get WashU within a single point at 21-20. Jones had a kill coming out of a timeout and Walker added one to make the score 23-20. After a WashU point, Moore had a kill to give CMS a 24-21 lead and three match points. After the Bears fought off the first one, Moore finished off the match with her 10th kill to seal it.

The first set saw the Athenas turn it out late in the set, after falling into a 16-11 hole. CMS chipped away at first to close to within 19-17, and then rattled off a pivotal 6-0 run to turn a three-point deficit into a three-point lead at 23-20. Madsen had back-to-back kills to give CMS the lead for good at 22-20, and then junior Lucila Grinspan helped finish off the set at 23-21, combining with Moore on a block and then getting the set-winning kill for a 25-21 win and 1-0 lead. 

Another 6-0 run, this time much earlier in the set, gave CMS an early 7-2 lead, with Walker tallying three kills in the spurt. WashU came right back with five straight points to tie it, and with the score deadlocked at 14-14, CMS used a mini-run of three straight points to get a little bit of separation. The teams traded points until it was 22-20 CMS, when Madsen and Walker came through with back-to-back kills to make it 24-20 before a WashU error gave the second set to the Athenas. 

CMS fell into a quick hole in the third set and never took the lead, falling behind 4-0 and 12-4. The Athenas used a 6-0 run to cut the lead to 12-10 and pulled even at 13-13 after two straight Grinspan kills. WashU had a 3-0 run to take a late 23-19 lead and led 24-21 before CMS fought off three set points, with Madsen erasing the first on a kill and then feeding Walker for two more to tie it 24-24. A Hannah Turner kill and Leila King solo block, though, accounted for the final two points as the Bears were able to stay in the match for one more set. 

CMS earned an opening-round win in the NCAA Tournament for the third straight season, after falling in the first round to Colorado College in 2016. In 2017, the Athenas started with a 3-1 win over Texas-Dallas in the first round before going all the way to the national championship. A year ago, CMS swept Augsburg in the first round before falling to Wisconsin Eau Claire 3-1 in the second round.