Athena volleyball sweeps Hens in first Sixth Street rivalry contest of season

A girl in a yellow, black, and red uniform throws a volleyball in the air in order to serve the ball.
Phoebe Madsen CM ’20 serves the ball in a game against Pomona-Pitzer. (Anna Horne • The Student Life)

After battling through three neck-and-neck sets Friday night, the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps volleyball team (17-3, 8-1 SCIAC) won a decisive 3-0 victory over the Sagehens (9-10, 3-6 SCIAC) in the first Sixth Street Rivalry of the season.

The Athenas came out swinging and quickly scored four points. Then the Sagehens surged back to tie the score 10-10. The two sides remained close for the remainder of the set, bringing the score up to 20-19, before the Athenas went on another 4-0 run to win the set.

The second set was more contested, as the Sagehens earned a 13-12 lead. The Sagehens managed to pull ahead to a three-point lead six times throughout the set, at one point leading the Athenas 18-15.

After that, however, CMS surged ahead with five straight points, grabbing the lead. The teams continued to battle it out, with CMS leading the Sagehens 24-23 until Melanie Moore CM ’21 finished the set with a kill. 

In the third set, the Sagehens fought hard but went down 24-17, leaving the Athenas to finish the match with a resounding victory of three sets to none.

Amanda Walker SC ’20 led the Athenas offensively with 11 kills, while Sarah Tritschler CM ’20 contributed 17 digs and Phoebe Madsen CM ’20 had nine kills. Madsen received the SCIAC Player of the Week Award for her performance.

For the Sagehens, Naomi Chen-Mallouk PO ’23 led the team with 14 kills, while Isabel Kelly PO ’20 contributed 13.

Chen-Mallouk said the team was especially focused going into the game against the Athenas.

“I think for a lot of the girls there was a lot of hype around their being our rivals,” she said. “And there was a lot of energy because they are our rivals.”

Despite their loss to the Athenas on their home turf, the Sagehens are optimistic about what they can accomplish moving forward. 

“We’ve gotten a lot better at competing, and I think that happened this weekend with CMS,” Chen-Mallouk said. “We’re a really close team and we’re very supportive of each other. As a team, we just want to be more consistent and not drop those little points here and there.” 

As for the Sixth Street Rivalry games in particular, Madsen said they’re always unique and special.

“Sixth Street Rivalry is always a fun game, and we’ve always loved playing at Pomona,” Madsen said. “They always get a really big crowd so it’s a fun environment to play in.”

A girl in a black, orange, and blue uniform sets a volleyball for another girl in a black, orange, and blue uniform.
Adrienne Tong PO ’22 sets the ball for Brooke Carlson PO ’20 in a game against CMS. (Anna Horne • The Student Life)

Pomona-Pitzer is now looking to rebound after three consecutive losses. La Verne defeated them 3-0 on Oct. 8 and Caltech beat them 3-2 Tuesday.

The Athenas, on the other hand, are now coming off four straight victories and looking to continue their strong record of performance in the SCIAC. 

Madsen reflected on the Athenas’ recent winning streak, citing how the team has been able to return to their unique brand of volleyball.

“I think we’ve been able to be pretty resilient in a bunch of our matches,” Madsen said. She referenced the team’s Oct. 16 match against Cal Lutheran, in which the Sagehens won the first two sets, lost the next two and came back to win the fifth set and take the match.

Looking forward, CMS is continuing to adjust and grow as they begin rematches against SCIAC teams.

“Each team does something different against us and we have to adjust our strategy and adjust the things we do, so to be able to do that more seamlessly in the second round is always something we try to look for,” Madsen said.

The Athenas will next face off against Whittier on Friday. The Sagehens will face Occidental Saturday. The Sagehens will head across the street to Roberts Pavilion on Oct. 25. 

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