P-P Volleyball Beats CMS in Three Set Thriller

The Pomona-Pitzer volleyball team crossed Sixth Street Tuesday night and defeated the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Athenas 3-0 in what proved to be one of the Sagehens’ strongest performances of the year. Allie Frappier PO ’15 was back on the court after missing Saturday’s match against Occidental College
for a muscle strain, and the energy was high in Ducey
Gym. With the Saghens coming off a loss to Occidental and the Athenas coming off a loss to California Lutheran University, both teams were looking to get back on their feet.

CMS took an early 6-0
lead, but kills from Kirea Mazzolini PO ’15, Samantha Cahill PO ’15, and Frappier brought P-P within
three. Regina Mullen CM ’15 had two pairs of kills to put
CMS on top at 18-10, but the Hens took advantage of the Athenas’ service and
attack errors, along with three Mazzolini blocks, to come up 17-20. Another kill
from Mullen gave CMS their 25th point, but with P-P at 24,
the Athenas needed a final point to clinch
the game. Frappier’s kill tied the score when, in an unusual turn
of events, CMS was called for being out of rotation. With the game point
in sight, Elizabeth Sun PO ’17 set up Frappier for a game-winning kill. 

The
@Sagehens Twitter account’s description of the
hit: “Can’t even describe what Frappier did to that ball for game
point, but it was violent. A Wilsonicide.”

P-P opened the second game by taking the lead in a
hurry, with Frappier,  Michelle Schultz PO ’16, and Ellen Yamasaki PZ ’16 each adding a kill, in that
order. A pair of kills from Audrey Breitwiser CM ’16 broke their
momentum, and for a few
points it was simply Breitwiser and Frappier trading
kills. Cahill provided some defense for the Saghens, totaling three
blocks in the game and seven on the night. Kills from Quinn Morrison SC ’17
and Monique Nguyen CM ’15 added to
CMS’ lead, but P-P crept back to tie it up
at 23. A kill from each side brought the score up to 24, then a back
row kill from Frappier gave the Hens a game point. CMS, trying to return Sun’s serve, sent the ball a bit too far back over the net,
and Cahill pounced, smashing the ball in to finish
the second game.

The third game started out much like what P-P has become
accustomed to: hard fought and close in score. CMS maintained a small
lead, helped by a couple Frappier attack errors—although she still hit .306 for
the night). Down 15-11, P-P Coach Valerie Cowan called a time
out, which seemed to refresh the Hens. Out of the timeout, Yamasaki, Cahill, and Schultz
all added a kill, bringing the score within two. A service error gave the
ball back to CMS, who rolled to 21 points from more Breitwiser and
Mullen kills. Not wanting to go to a fourth game,
P-P turned to the net again, using three blocks to regain momentum.
This drove them to an incredible 7-0 run, with a Yamasaki-Mazzolini
block clinching the match.
Coach Cowan attributed the win to an all-around team effort as the Hens to pulled together and competed
until the last point. 

The Sagehens also had a double header last Saturday, facing Caltech and Occidental at home. The day’s first matchup was seamless as the Hens wiped out Caltech in three games.

The Sagehens outscored the Beavers 75-33 with
individual game scores of 25-8, 25-10, and 25-15. Overall, P-P had a
.395 hitting percentage in the match—with only two starters playing in
all three games. 

The score allowed Coach Cowan some flexibility
in getting other Hens playing time, which is helpful in measuring the team’s depth. “You never
know when you’ll have to go to the bench, nor how deep you’ll need to
go,” Cowan said.

After a few hours of rest the Sagehens took the court against the Occidental Tigers. Like the Hens’ game against Cal Lutheran last Tuesday, this was another five game thriller that didn’t go in the Hens’ favor.

The first game never saw a score more than three
points apart, and was tied ten separate times. P-P, and Occidental traded kill after kill as the score continued to ping-pong back and forth, 8-7, 14-16, 22-23. Oxy managed to scrape the last
three points to snag the victory for the first game, winning by a
two-point margin.

Kills from Cahill and Samantha Quesada-Diaz PZ ’17 helped the Hens
jump to an early lead in the second game, but the Tigers refused to lie
down and quit. Attack errors cost both sides, but the score remained
incredibly tight. Tied at 13, the Hens capitalized
on Tiger errors to surge to a five-point lead. However, Oxy returned
the favor, taking the lead 21-19. Coach Cowan called a time out, and a
block from Cahill and Kelli Derrah PO ’17 shifted the momentum; a clutch ace
from Beth Smilkstein PO ’14 and a pair of kills put the game
away for the Hens.

The third game started similarly to the two previous games: tied up, with both teams fighting tooth-and-nail back and forth. Oxy
managed to go ahead 10-6, but P-P answered back with seven straight
points. A Cahill kill brought the score to 24-16,
game point, and another Oxy attack error gave the Hens the victory.

With P-P in the lead at 2-1, they were in a good
position to close out the match in the fourth game. Quesada-Diaz notched P-P’s first point with a kill, the only of the game for
the Hens until Schultz slammed one to make the score 10-13. The lead was
traded back and forth (17-16, 20-19, 23-22) until, tied at 23, an Oxy
kill and P-P attack error gave the Tigers the
game.

Heading into the fifth game, the Hens and the Tigers were tied at 2-2. Oxy
started out ahead 1-0. Then, P-P tied it up at 1. This continued until a
few Tiger kills brought them to 7-4. The Hens wouldn’t
regain the lead: A kill and an ace from Mazzolini tied the game, but Oxy
went on a four-point streak to end the game 15-11.

Despite the final outcome, Cowan was pleased, calling her players “a driven group of young ladies with a
ton of potential.”

The Hens will travel to Redlands University for another SCIAC matchup today at 7:30 p.m.

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