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CMS celebrating a point
CMS needs one more win to reach nationals at Roberts (photo by Kyle Prudhomme)

CMS Volleyball Sweeps Salisbury to Advance to NCAA Regional Finals

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Jenna Holmes had 12 kills and 11 digs, including kills for six straight Athena points in the middle of a tight second set, as the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps volleyball team earned a 3-0 win over Salisbury on Friday afternoon in the NCAA Regional Semifinals at MIT.

Set scores were 25-15, 25-22, 25-18 as CMS improves to 24-5 on the season and moves on to the NCAA Regional Finals on Saturday at 2 p.m. (Pacific time) against the winner of the other semifinal between host MIT and Cortland on Friday. Salisbury sees its season end at 21-8, after overcoming a match point in the opening round against Williams to win in five sets.

In Friday's opening set, CMS seized control early with a 7-0 run to go ahead 9-2. Dani Beder started the run with a kill, and Jenna Holmes had back-to-back service aces to make it 6-2 and force a quick Salisbury timeout. After a Brenna Bell kill, Beder and Izzy Sakoda combined on a block, and Sakoda added a kill for a 9-2 lead. A Holmes kill stretched the lead to 10 points at 17-7, and Audrey Sawyer had kills for the final two points for a 25-15 first-set win and a 1-0 lead.

Salisbury found its footing in the latter portions of the first set, and was able to push CMS in the second set, taking a 9-7 lead before Holmes had three straight kills to put the Athenas in front. After two straight Sea Gulls points, Holmes had another 3-0 run to make it a 13-11 CMS lead. With the score tied 13-13, Beder had two kills and a solo block in a 4-1 run as CMS went ahead 17-14.

The Sea Gulls swung the momentum back and pulled ahead 20-18 after a 4-0 run, but CMS responded to tie it 20-20 on a Sawyer kill. Georgia McGovern tied it with a kill at 21-21, and then put CMS ahead 23-22 with another one after a key Dede Carranza dig took a potential kill away. Holmes made it 24-22 with a tip kill and a Salisbury error gave CMS the 25-22 win and a 2-0 lead.

The Athenas then reverted to its first-set form and jumped in front early, using a 6-0 run to take a 7-1 lead. Sakoda and Sawyer combined on a block and then each had kills to get the lead up to double digits at 12-2. Salisbury battled back to 17-12, but Beder stopped the surge with a kill and the Athenas earned the win 25-18 on a service error.

CMS had a balanced offense with Bell recording nine kills, Sawyer adding eight, Sakoda and Beder tallying seven, and McGovern adding six to go with her 35 assists. Carranza led the CMS defense with 17 digs.

CMS will try to make it nationals for the fourth time in program history with a win tomorrow, which would enable the Athenas to return home to compete at Roberts Pavilion in the NCAA Quarterfinals on Nov. 29. CMS previously reached the NCAA Quarterfinals in 2014, won the national title in 2017 and made it to the semifinals in 2021. The 1993 team also reached the NCAA Quarterfinals, but nationals were only a four-team event in that era, and CMS ended up falling in four sets to UC San Diego in the regional finals.