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CMS finished its 2022 season at 30-1 (photo by Caelyn Smith)
CMS finished its 2022 season at 30-1 (photo by Caelyn Smith)

Dream Season Ends for CMS Volleyball in Five-Set Heartbreaker to Trinity

CLAREMONT, Calif. - The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps volleyball team dropped only four sets on its way to a 30-0 start to the season, but Trinity (Texas) was able to take three two-point wins on Saturday in the NCAA Regional finals at Roberts Pavilion, ending the Athenas' season at 30-1.

Set scores were 15-25, 26-24, 25-23, 19-25, 16-14 as the Tigers improved to 28-4 on the year and advance to the national quarterfinals next week in Pittsburgh. 

CMS had a 3-0 run midway through the fifth set to go ahead 10-8, all on kills from Jenna Holmes, who had a career-high 23 kills, to go along with 11 digs. Sara Flynn answered for Trinity with a big kill coming out of a timeout, and then had another to give the Tigers a 12-11 lead, before combining on a block with Brette Thornton to make it a 13-11 score. After a timeout, Brooke McKee had a kill, before Flynn put the Tigers on the verge of the regional title with a kill to make it 14-12. 

Audrey Sawyer responded with a kill for the Athenas, and the Tigers had a swing for match point sail wide to tie it at 14-14. Sarah Williamme broke the tie, and Reagan Whatley ended the match with a cross-court kill, her fifth of the match, but the second clutch kill to end sets with a one-point lead, including match point. 

Trinity was one of the four teams to take a set off of CMS during the regular season, in a 3-1 Athena win back on Sept. 10, and they took the second set 26-24 to level the match at 1-1. Down 22-20, CMS tied it with kills from Brenna Bell and Jenna Holmes, and another kill from Holmes knotted it at 23-23. Brooke McKee stopped one set point for the Tigers with a kill to tie it 24-24, but Mackenzie Logan broje the tie with a kill, and Trinity was able to win the next point as well for a 26-24 win. 

CMS fell behind 8-4 in the third set, but rattled off five straight points on three kills from Brenna Bell and two from Sawyer. A Bell kill tied the score 19-19, and a Holmes kill made it 20-20, but Reagan Whatley had a kill on set point for the Tigers to put CMS in a 2-1 hole for the first time all year. 

The fourth set saw CMS take control with a 6-0 run after a timeout trailing 11-9, with McKee recording two kills. CMS led 23-16, and Trinity was able to use a 3-0 run to get to within 23-19, but McKee and Sakoda had two straight kills to tie at two sets apiece. 

The 23 kills from Holmes broke her previous high of 21, which she set against UC Santa Cruz last year and tied this year against NYU. McKee added a personal-best 17 kills, Sakoda had 14, and Sawyer had 11. Georgia McGovern had 35 assists and Spencer Hagenbuch had 21, while Dede Carranza had 26 digs, Sakoda had 19, McGovern had 15 and Holmes had 11. 

CMS ends with a school record in winning percentage at .968 (30-1), but one shy of matching the record for wins in a season, suffering its first loss despite winning 10 more points than the Tigers over the course of the match. The Athenas return most of their 2022 roster next year, losing Hagenbuch, Jackie Jones and Sonia Bliss, as it will try to go one step further and reach nationals, which be held at Roberts Pavilion.