CMS Volleyball Sweeps Pomona-Pitzer for Fifth Straight SCIAC Title
CLAREMONT, Calif. - The top-ranked Claremont-Mudd-Scripps volleyball team was tested in the first two sets by Pomona-Pitzer, but the Athenas were able to come away with a 25-20, 25-23, 25-19 win to earn their fifth straight SCIAC Tournament title on Saturday evening at Roberts Pavilion.
With the win, CMS moves to 28-0 on the season and will earn the SCIAC's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championships. The Athenas have also now won 49 straight matches against SCIAC opponents, including six in the conference tournament and 43 straight league matches. Pomona-Pitzer, which reached the finals for the first time, falls to 17-9 with the loss and will await a possible NCAA at-large bid.
Jenna Holmes had a double-double with 10 kills and 13 digs, including an emphatic kill on match point. Dede Carranza had 14 digs and was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player for her role in the CMS defensive effort, coming up with several spectacular digs to keep key points alive. Audrey Sawyer added six kills in 10 attempts for a .600 percentage, as well as six blocks, Brenna Bell had eight kills in 17 attempts, hitting .353, and Jackie Jones had eight kills in 20 attempts to go with five blocks.
The first set was tight the whole way until a late CMS run swung the mometum. The Sagehens led 18-16, before the Athenas went on a huge 8-0 run. Bell and Jones had consecutive kills to tie it, and after a timeout, Jones combined on a block with Dani Beder and then had another kill to make it 20-18. Holmes had two aces, with a back-row kill off a pass from Carranza in between, and Jones capped off the run with a kill to make it 24-18. Pomona-Pitzer fought off two set points, but Bell finished it with a kill for a 25-20 win.
The second set saw the Sagehens lead 7-3 early before Jones had two straight aces to give the Athenas their first lead at 11-10. CMS went ahead 19-15 after two straight Jones kills, but Pomona-Pitzer was able to hang close, and fought off two set points to get within 24-23. After several exchanges of attacks and digs, the Athenas were able to take the set when a Sagehen attack went long.
Up 2-0, CMS made its move in the middle of the set with a 4-0 run that gave the Athenas a 17-12 lead. CMS went ahead 20-14 on a spectacular point that saw Carranza and Holmes keep the point alive with consecutive one-armed digs, and Summer Ells and Sawyer finish it off with a block. Ellis had kills for the 22nd and 24th CMS points, and Holmes capped it off with an emphatic kill for a 25-19 win a SCIAC title.
CMS will head back to the NCAA Division III Tournament after reaching the national semifinals before falling to Calvin in four sets. Calvin is the only team to defeat CMS in the last two seasons, which they accomplished twice last year, once at their home tournament and once in the national semifinals. This time around, CMS will head into the postseason with an undefeated record for the first time in program history, and they will find out when and where they will play when NCAA selections are announced on Monday at 10 a.m. (Pacific time).