Athenas Dig Out Victory Over Sagehens

The Linde Activities Center was packed to its full capacity on the night of Sept. 27 as the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps volleyball team (14-4, 5-1 SCIAC) battled Pomona-Pitzer (9-6, 3-3 SCIAC) in four grueling sets. This time the Athenas came out on top, winning 3-1 (25-23, 25-22, 23-25, 25-22).

With the offensive contributions of Allie Frappier PO ’15 and Ellen Yamasaki PZ ’15, the Sagehens jumped ahead by two points from the beginning of the first set and kept this small lead until the very end of the set. Three CMS errors put P-P up 23-19, causing the Athenas to call a timeout. Sarah Bruml SC ’18 came out of the timeout with a powerful kill, and Ari Sifuentes SC '16 carried the team to the end of the set with her 5-0 serving run. With the last kill by Audrey Breitwieser CM ’16, the first set went to the Athenas. Breitwieser finished the night with 13 kills.

In the second set, P-P capitalized on more CMS errors and emerged ahead, with their biggest lead of 8-5 after a kill by Frappier. The Athenas put together a few runs of their own, building a 19-15 lead after a few P-P errors and a service ace by Megan Coleman CM ’15. Frappier wasn’t going to go down easy as she scored P-P’s last five points, but the distributed attack by Breitwieser, Margaux Arntson CM ’18 and Regina Mullen CM ’15 was too much to overcome as CMS came out on top again.

CMS head coach Kurt Vlasich was happy to have some of his returners back in action. Nicole Kerkhof CM ’17 and Mullen, who have both been battling injuries, were back at full force, leading their team with 21 and 13 kills, respectively.

“It felt a lot like last year,” Vlasich said. “It’s easy to be caught up in being young and talented versus having the veterans out there that know what to do, especially in a rivalry match where you’re going to lean on your veterans a little bit more.”

The same can be said for the Sagehens, whose seniors played a big role in their win in the third set. Frappier totaled nine kills, while Yamasaki and Samantha Cahill PO ’15 added three and two, respectively. In this set, the Athenas were the ones who came out with an early 7-2 lead and kept it until a kill by Frappier put P-P up 14-13. After some long rallies at set point, Frappier put it away with a kill, and the Sagehens finally saw a change in momentum with a 25-23 win.

“We worked hard and put in a little extra hustle,” Yamasaki said. 

While Frappier finished the match with a game-high 30 kills, Yamasaki also contributed eight kills and 12 digs.

Despite coming in hot after a win in the last set, P-P had a few errors that cost them points early on in the fourth set. With only two lead changes in the entire set, the Athenas capitalized on these errors and built a lead starting from 6-5 that went as high as 14-7. Although they tied it back up at 19-19, the unrelenting effort of the Sagehens to overcome this deficit fell short. The Athenas took the match with the help of an evenly-distributed offense, including Breitwieser, who put it away again with a kill right down the line.

Although the Sagehens showed that they would not go down without a fight, P-P head coach Valerie Cowan knows that her team performs better when her players are not trying to dig themselves out of such a large point deficit.

“We definitely need to be more consistent throughout the game,” Cowan said. “We will work on this and maintaining a high level of intensity throughout the match.”

P-P will have their shot at redemption when they host CMS Oct. 24.

After a restful weekend, both teams bounced back to SCIAC play Sept. 30. P-P defeated University of Redlands 3-0, while CMS defeated Occidental College 3-1. Frappier led the offensive attack with ten kills and 11 digs, while Kelli Derrah PO ’17 added eight kills for the Sagehens. Arntson led the Athenas with 14 kills (.400 hitting), while Shelbi Stein CM '18 had 11 and Mariah Rigg CM ’18 and Breitwieser added ten each.

The Sagehens are back in action today, Oct. 3, as they travel to Chapman, while the Athenas host Redlands tomorrow at 6 p.m. at Linde Activities Center.