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Jackie Jones had a season-high 12 kills (photo by Stella Cheng)
Jackie Jones had a season-high 12 kills (photo by Stella Cheng)

History Repeats as CMS Sweeps La Verne, Advances to SCIAC Finals

CLAREMONT, Calif. - The top-ranked Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's volleyball team swept La Verne for the second time in five days, by almost the exact same score, as it improved to 27-0 on the year with a 25-23, 25-15, 25-15 over the Leopards on Thursday evening in the SCIAC Tournament Semifinals at Roberts Pavilion.

CMS also closed out the regular season on Saturday with a home victory over La Verne, winning 25-22, 25-15, 25-15, and the two teams drew each other again in the semifinals five days later, with the Athenas the top seed and the Leopards the No. 4 seed. The first set was one point closer in the rematch, with the Leopards fighting off two set points at 24-21 and 24-22, before a hitting error allowed the Athenas to take the 25-23 win and the 1-0 lead, and then they closed out with the same 25-15 scores in the second and third sets as they won by on Saturday. 

SCIAC Offensive Player of the Year Jenna Holmes had a double-double for the Athenas with 13 kills and 10 digs, while Jackie Jones had a season-high 12 kills, passing the 11 she had in wins over NYU and Emory. Audrey Sawyer had five block assists and Brenna Bell had four for the Athenas, who had eight blocks as a team. 

The first set was tied 18-18 before CMS was able to get a little bit of separation with a 4-0 run. Bell and Kelsey Polhemus combined on a block, and SCIAC Defensive Player of the Year Dede Carranza followed with two straight service aces. Sawyer and Jones then finished off the 4-0 run with a block, and Jones had a kill for a 24-21 lead, before the Athenas settled for the 25-23 win.

CMS then jumped out quickly in the second to a 4-0 lead, and forced a La Verne timeout at 7-2. Holmes had three kills and a service ace to account for four of those first seven points. Bell and Sawyer had consecutive kills to make it 11-3, and after La Verne got back within 12-7, CMS earned the next four points, with Holmes contributing a block and a kill, and Jones capping off the run with a kill. La Verne kept it within 21-15, but Jones had a kill, Sawyer and Jones had two straight blocks, and Summer Ellis ended the set with a kill for a 25-15 win. 

The Athenas used a 5-0 run early in the third set to go ahead 8-3 with Holmes getting another ace, and Jones capping it off with a kill. A 4-0 run pushed the lead to 15-7, with Jones and Ellis each alternating two kills in the run. Jones had kills for the 23rd and 24th CMS points, and Holmes finished the match off with a kill. 

CMS will meet Pomona-Pitzer in Saturday's championship match, which will begin at 6 p.m. Pomona-Pitzer was the only team in the SCIAC to take a set off the Athenas during the regular season, earning the first set 25-20 in its home gym, before CMS came back to win the next three (25-10, 25-19, 25-17). The Athenas will be trying to win their fifth straight SCIAC Tournament title, and remain undefeated as they head into the NCAA Division III Tournament, beginning next week.