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CMS celebrates its regional title (photo by Ollie Piazza)
CMS celebrates its regional title (photo by Ollie Piazza)

Homeward Bound! CMS Volleyball Dominates Regional Finals to Advance to Nationals in Claremont

NCAA Championship Tickets

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The eighth-ranked Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's volleyball team picked the right time for one of its most dominant performances of the season, cruising to a 25-13, 25-17, 25-17 win over host No. 19 MIT on Saturday afternoon in the NCAA Regional Finals.

With the win, CMS returns home to compete at the NCAA Division III Championships at Roberts Pavilion from Nov. 29-Dec. 2, beginning with the quarterfinal round on Wednesday, Nov. 29. The semifinals will be held on Thursday, Nov. 30, and after an off day, the national championship will be held on Saturday, Dec. 2 at 4 p.m.  MIT ends the year at 31-5 after being swept for the first time all season.  

Jenna Holmes finished a dominant regional performance with a team-high 14 kills in 25 attempts with one error, hitting .520. Holmes also hit .550 in the first round (13-2-20) against UMass-Dartmouth, and .375 in the second round against Salisbury (12-3-24). Izzy Sakoda also had a strong effort to help CMS close it out with five of her nine kills in the third set, hitting .421 (9-1-19).

CMS asserted itself from the start against MIT, scoring the first seven points of the match. Dani Beder had two kills and two blocks with Brenna Bell during the run, while Georgia McGovern had two straight service aces for the second and third points.

MIT got back to within 10-5, but McGovern had a kill and then combined with Audrey Sawyer on a pair of blocks in a 4-0 run to get the lead up to 14-5. CMS went ahead 20-9 with a 4-0 run on a Holmes kill, and then finished off a 25-13 win on two straight kills from Sakoda and Holmes.

CMS again started quickly in the second set, pulling ahead 5-1 with McGovern and Holmes each recording aces. After MIT got one point back, Beder and Bell earned two straight kills to force another quick Engineers timeout. The Athenas used a 4-0 run to go ahead 11-4 with Isabel Yau-Weeks recording an ace between two Sakoda kills.

MIT tried to hang in and put a late rally together, but Sakoda had a kill and an ace back-to-back to make it a 23-15 lead. McGovern answered one MIT kill for a 24-16 advantage, and Holmes answered another for a 25-17 win and a 2-0 lead in the match.

The third set again saw the Athenas quickly get the upper hand, forcing an MIT timeout with the score 8-3 after Sawyer and Sakoda each had a kill and a block in a 4-0 run. The Engineers tried to swing the momentum with a 3-0 run to get back to within 10-7, but Holmes stopped the run with a kill and Sawyer followed with an ace.

MIT crept back to within 14-11, but Sakoda had two straight timely kills to restore a five-point lead at 16-11, and Sawyer followed with another kill to put CMS ahead 17-11.

Holmes, who had a big weekend offensively, then helped finish it off with her defense, combining with Beder for blocks for the 23rd and 24th points, and then pulling out a back-row dig to deny MIT a kill and keep the point alive before the match ended on an Engineer error.

McGovern was named the regional Most Outstanding Performer, tallying 28 assists and three kills in the regional final. Holmes and Dede Carranza (12 digs) were also named to the All-Region team. Beder ended up with five kills in eight attempts and no errors, and added a team-high six blocks.

CMS will find out its quarterfinal opponent and start time when the final eight is re-seeded prior to the start of nationals competition. Tickets are on sale now, with both one-day and three-day passes available at the following link: NCAA Tickets