The NCAA DIII No. 1 ranked CMS women’s volleyball team extended its undefeated streak with a dominating win over Occidental College last Friday, defeating the Tigers 3-0 at Claremont McKenna College’s Roberts Pavilion.
The match marked the Athenas’ 12th win of the season and second win in league play. With the result, they maintain their position at the top of both SCIAC standings and national rankings.
Brenna Bell CM ’25 and Jenna Holmes CM ’24 led the team with 12 kills each.
“It’s our first conference home game, and we’re very happy we showed our dominance on our home court,” Bell said. “We set a standard for the Roberts Arena.”
The Athenas did indeed dominate, winning each of the three total sets by a margin of at least seven points.
The first set started off back-and-forth, with the Tigers catching up to CMS every other rally. The Athenas did not have a clear lead until a strong spike from Holmes put them ahead, 8-5.
After a few quick rallies, a series of errors from Oxy put the Athenas ahead 16-9. A strong block from Bell was returned by Oxy, only for Bell to spike it back, making the score 19-11. At one point, CMS had a nine-point lead 21-12 before conceding two points on errors. The Tigers were not ready for Captain Spencer Hagenbuch’s CM ’23 sneaky spike that gave the Athenas a 23-15 lead before the first set finished 25-15.
The second set began similarly, with both teams fighting equally. The Athenas were then able to establish a clear lead, but after a series of good plays, the Tigers reached within three points of the Athenas, who were ahead 13-10.
CMS maintained a high lead throughout the rest of the set, however, and after a series of good spikes from Bell, took a 19-13 lead. They finished the set 25-18.
Ahead two sets to none, the Athenas only had to win one more to win the match.
The Tigers and the Athenas seemed the most evenly-matched at the start of the third set, with both teams staying within one point of each other early on in the set. The Tigers tied it up at 8-8, even taking their first lead of the game at 9-8.
Excellent defensive work from Dede Carranza CM ’25, who had 12 digs throughout the night, as well as a series of strong spikes from Brooke McKee CM ’26, put the Athenas ahead again at, 13-11. The Tigers tied it up 13-13 and stayed within a point of the Athenas, until the score was 16-15 in favor of CMS. But the Athenas retained a high lead with the help of good blocks from Holmes, and the set ended 25-18, cementing yet another victory for CMS.
“It means so much to start off the conference on such a strong note with two wins under our belt,” Hagenbuch said. “We really wanted to set the tone for [the] season with this match, since it was the first one at home.”
The Athenas continued their winning streak the next day, defeating University of La Verne 3-0 on the road in a much closer match. Set scores were 25-23, 25-20 and 25-19. The match marked the Athenas’ 30th league win in a row.
“We just want to continue to play our game, have fun and enjoy these moments with each other,” Hagenbuch said. “This team steps on the court every day for the girls next to them, and it’s really something special. We’re going to take it one day at a time and see where that takes us.”