What a 1-2 Punch! CMS Volleyball Knocks out Top Two Teams on the Same Day
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - Usually if a team knocks off the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the country in the same season, it's considered an incredible year. The CMS women's volleyball team had that sort of year in one day, defeating No. 1 Trinity (Texas) and No. 2 Emory by identical 3-1 scores on Saturday on the second day of the East-West Battle hosted by Cal Lutheran.
With the wins, the sixth-ranked Athenas improve to 7-0 on the season and got their springboard ready for a vault up the polls when the new rankings come out this week. Set scores against Trinity were 17-25, 25-19, 25-19, 25-23, while the Emory set scores were 25-18, 22-25, 25-13, 25-19
Jackie Jones was the brightest star in a sky full of them for the Athenas on Saturday, totaling 10 kills in 19 attempts against Trinity for a .421 hitting percentage, and then hitting an even .500 in the second match against Emory with an impressive 20 kills in 36 attempts (and two errors).
The day didn't begin as if it would be an historic one for CMS, as Trinity controlled the first set of the morning match, winning 25-17 to take a 1-0 lead. None of the current Athenas were around when the 2017 team won the national title after dropping the first set in each of the first four rounds, but they played as if they wanted to keep that a tradition by dominating the second set 25-19 to tie the match at 1-1.
After an exchange of points to start the second set, CMS went on a 7-0 run to take an 8-1 lead, with Melanie Williams jump starting the run with a pair of kills. The Atehnas led 23-15 late before the Tigers went on a brief 4-0 run to make the final score look closer, but Williams stopped the run with a kill and an error gave the Athenas the tying set.
The script played out differently in the third set, as Trinity got the upper hand early with an 11-4 lead, but CMS dug down and turned the match around with an 8-0 run that turned a 15-10 deficit into an 18-15 lead. Williams had three kills during the run, and Kelsey Polhemus had a kill and two blocks. Trinity stayed within 21-18, but Jones had a key kill and Summer Ellis got the Athenas to set point with a kill, before a Trinity error ended it.
The final set required some pressure points from the Athenas, who trailed 23-22 as the Tigers looked to send the match to a fifth set. Jones evened the score at 23-23 with a kill, and after a Trinity error, Williams and Dani Beder combined a block that sealed the 3-1 victory.
Williams finished with 15 kills for CMS, and Summer Ellis had a huge match with 11 kills in 21 attempts. Makenna Fall led the defense with 21 digs, while Polhemus had seven blocks.
With a win over No. 1 in the books, the Athenas headed into the second half of its twinbill knowing it had a unique opportunity of picking up wins over No. 1 and No. 2 in the same day. They fell behind early in the first set against Emory 7-3, but used a 7-1 run to take a 10-8 lead, with Polhemus, Jones and Ellis rattling off successive kills during the run.
With the score tied 16-16, the Athenas had an even better run, going on an 8-1 spurt to set up set point at 24-17. Izzy Sakoda, Polhemus and Jones had three straight kills to start the run, and Jones had a kill for the 23rd point, before Ellis finished off the set at 25-18.
Emory bounced back to take the second set 25-22, but CMS responded with its best set of the tournament, winning 25-13 to take the lead back. It was 16-11 in favor the Athenas, before Beder and Jenna Holmes combined on a block that started a 9-2 run, capped off by three kills from Ellis and one from Jones for the final four CMS points.
CMS smelled blood in the fourth set and jumped out quickly to a 5-0 lead. The Athenas led 19-10 before Emory had one last run in it, taking six straight points to close within 19-16. With the score 21-19, though, Jones capped off her huge day with three kills in a row, and Ellis put one down on match point to earn CMS the second 3-1 win over a top-two team in the span of six hours.
Fall had another big match defensively with 22 digs, while Spencer Hagenbuch had 30 assists and 10 digs, and Georgia McGovern had 27 assists. Williams had 13 kills, Holmes had 11 and Ellis had nine as CMS had a well-rounded attack in support of the 20 kills from Jones, while Beder led in blocks with four.
CMS will be back in action in 10 days, when it begins SCIAC play with a home match against Whittier on Tuesday, Sept. 21.