A sea of blue and orange filled the stands in Voelkel Gymnasium Friday night as the Pomona-Pitzer volleyball team battled Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. Chants from the raucous crowd echoed through Rains Center as the Sagehens defeated their rival in three quick sets.
“The stench of sweat and alcohol overwhelmed me as I entered the gymnasium, reminding me of my childhood when my father would return from the bar,” fan Kyle Pokorny PO ‘12 said. Whether Kyle’s nose picked up the smells of the crowd or just his own breath and pungent body odor remains undetermined. However, the overwhelming visual and auditory impact of the fans was undeniable. With the support of their fans, the Sagehens overpowered the Athenas in the first set, smashing them 25-18.
“I think CMS was shell-shocked, the first game, by the really big crowd,” Carly Hite PO ’12 said.
Hitting an astounding .421 in the first match, the Hens’ offense struck hard. Leading the attack throughout the match, Eleanor Hughes PO ’11 had 14 kills and Jordan Hammond PO ‘12 had 13.
After the first set, the Athenas adjusted their defense and began hitting back. But P-P defensive specialists Lauren “Kimmy” Kim PO ‘13, Beth Smilkstein PO ‘14, and Heidi Leonard PO ‘12—who had 25 digs—fought well against the Athenas’ attempted comeback. With an average of 20.85 digs per set, P-P Volleyball is ranked fifth in all of D-III.
“Our defense is always really strong and reliable, and they played even better than usual against CMS,” Rachel Bollens PO ‘13 said.
The second set was a closer battle, with the Sagehens barely holding out against their rivals, 25-23. Building off that momentum, the Hens continued to triumph by winning the final set 25-20, shutting out CMS 3-0.
This is the third year in a row the Hens have prevailed in straight sets over CMS at home after losing to them away. Beyond the joy that comes with beating a rival, beating the Athenas earned Pomona-Pitzer a spot the SCIAC tournament. Hopefully, the Sagehens will bring the same skill and energy they demonstrated against CMS to Cal Lutheran when they fight the Regals in the semi-finals of the SCIAC tournament tonight at 7:30.