Step aside Joanne Nielson PO ’91, there’s a new record holder in town. Allie Frappier PO ’15 recorded 40 kills as she broke the Pomona-Pitzer single match kills record to help the Hens beat Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in four games on Saturday evening. She was also named the American Volleyball Coaches Association Division III National Player of the Week, and her kills per set average, at 6.19, is the highest in all divisions of college volleyball.
The Sagehens women’s volleyball team also beat Occidental College on Friday and then Redlands University on Tuesday for a three-win week, improving their record to 18-7 overall and 10-4 in conference.
The Hens swept the Athenas the last time the rivals met, but CMS was determined to change that this time around. The Athenas came out strong and took a 4-3 lead as the match opened, but Frappier added a pair of kills to push the Hens ahead. Audrey Breitwieser CM ’16 responded with a pair of her own, and eventually CMS took a 18-13 lead. Following a P-P time-out, the Hens went on a 5-0 run, forcing the Athenas to take a time-out of their own. CMS followed suit, going 5-1 in the next six points to take the first game of the match, eliminating the possibility of being swept again.
In the second game, the two power hitters of the match—Frappier for P-P and Breitwieser for CMS—swapped kills for the first 8 points of the game, and both racked up double-digit totals by the end of the match. The score remained tight as the game was tied on eight different occasions by the time the score reached 15-15. After trading points, Kirea Mazzolini PO ’15 had two blocks to tie the game up again at 23. Another CMS timeout couldn’t slow down the Hens, who used a block from Mazzolini and Ellen Yamasaki PZ ’14 to win the set at 26.
In the third game, Michelle Schultz PO ’15 served up an early ace to make the score 5-1 in favor of the Hens. Breitwieser and Frappier notched three kills each, and then the Mazzolini-Yamasaki duo blocked Regina Mullen CM ’15 twice in a row. After two Frappier kills, aces from Mazzolini and Arianna Sifuentes CM ’14, and two Athena time-outs, the Hens stretched their lead to 17-8. Morrison and Nicole Kerkhof CM ’17 scored a kill each but P-P pulled away, going 7-2 to take their second set of the match 25-13.
With the energy and the number of Halloween costumes inside of Voelkel Gymnasium at an all time high, the score remained close as the fourth game opened. Both sides saw kill contributions from all over the court and Natalie Creekmur CM ’17 tied the game up with an ace, 11-11. The Hens scored three kills in a row, but Sifuentes served up back-to-back aces, and another ace from Megan Coleman CM ’16 made the score 19-17 Athenas. Kerkhof and Morrison blocked an attempted Frappier kill, but she retaliated, putting away two consecutive kills. After a CMS timeout, a kill from Sam Cahill PO ’15 tied the set up at 21.
Frappier and Breitwieser then traded multiple kills to tie it at 24 and Mullen got a kill to make it 25-25, bringing the intensity up a notch. After going back and forth, a huge block from Kerkhof and Morrison put CMS ahead 29-28. Frappier, however, got the Sagehens right back into it by adding a kill to even the score at 30, then Frappier and Mazzolini combined to block Breitwieser for match point. The Athenas weren’t done yet, however, as Breitwieser pounded two kills in quick succession to turn the tables yet again. Frappier tied it at 32, and then Mazzolini and Yamasaki blocked Mullen, giving P-P the lead 33-32. Breitweiser’s final kill tied it at 33, but Mazzolini’s spike let the Hens take the lead and, as the thrilling finale, Frappier notched the last point of the match with her 40th kill on the night.
Nielson’s record of 35 kills had stood for 23 years, but Frappier decided that was long enough. “Breaking the kill record was something I hoped to accomplish this season,” Frappier said, “but I just played my best and I knew if I did my job it would eventually happen.”
Before facing rival CMS, the Hens also pulled out a 3-1 victory over the Occidental Tigers last Friday evening. The offense got off to a lackluster start, allowing Oxy take the opener 25-19, but P-P quickly rebounded.
Frappier had four kills within the Hens’ first six points of the second game, and an ace from Dani Kritter PO ’15 and a Mazzolini-Yamasaki block made the score 8-4. After both teams stayed close for most of the set, Frappier evened the score at 19 and 20 with two kills, and Schultz notched a kill to tie it at 22. P-P proceeded to win the next three points to claim the second game, 25-22.
The third game saw a tighter margin, but Oxy slowly built their lead to 15-9. The Hens pushed forward, but couldn’t grab the lead even with a pair of aces from Schultz. Down 23-24, Mazzolini and Derrah had a huge block to tie up the score.
“The more pressure I’m under, the better I play,” Frappier said after the game. With the game on the line, she came up big for P-P and slammed home two kills to clinch the set.
-In the fourth game, P-P jumped out ahead 7-1, but Oxy pushed back to make it 7-6. Both sides swapped kills until the Hens went on a 7-1 streak, making it 22-14. The Tigers scored five in a row, but a Mazzolini-Yamasaki block and a pair of kills from Frappier won the match for P-P.
On Tuesday, the Sagehens continued their winning ways, beating Redlands on the road in four games to set up a battle for second place coming on Friday. Beth Smilkstein PO ’14 led the team with 22 digs on the day.
After the 3-0 week, Frappier felt “that we have figured out a way to maintain a certain level of intensity this round of SCIACs that was previously missing,” and with solid contributions from each Hen on the court, including Elizabeth Sun PO ’17 who had 58 assists in these two matches, P-P looks poised to continue their success in their virtually guaranteed playoff spot. They play Chapman University at 7:30 p.m. on Friday night. This will be the last regular-season home game of the year for P-P and senior players will be honored in pre-game festivities.