The Pomona-Pitzer women’s volleyball team closed out the regular season on a high note this weekend, finishing with 20 wins and clinching its position as No. 2 seed in the SCIAC Tournament with wins over Chapman University and Caltech. Allie Frappier PO ’15, after averaging 6.16 kills per set, was named the 2013 SCIAC Player of the Year. Unfortunately for the Hens, they could not carry the momentum over from these big wins as their season came to a premature end on Thursday, as they lost to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in four sets in the SCIAC semi-finals.
On Friday night, Beth Smilkstein PO ’14 and Nicole Bauthier PO ’14 were honored for Senior Night as the Hens took on the Chapman Panthers. P-P opened the game with three kills, and an Ellen Yamasaki PZ ’15 and Kirea Mazzolini PO ’15 block made the score 6-3. A block from Michelle Schultz PO ’16 and Samantha Cahill PO ’15 stretched the lead to 11-6 and the Hens kept rolling, forcing a Panther time-out with the score at 21-18. Cahill and Kelli Derrah PO ’17 added two blocks, and a Bauthier ace notched the 25th point for the Hens.
The Panthers jumped out ahead in the second game 10-6, despite five kills from Frappier. Mazzolini hammered home an ace to bring the Hens within two, 14-16, while a later ace from Elizabeth Sun PO ’17 put the Hens up by two, 19-17. A solo block from Mazzolini clinched the second game for P-P.
Cahill and Derrah opened the third game with kills, but Chapman went on a six-point run, taking a 6-3 lead. Frappier slammed four kills and Mazzolini had another ace, but the Hens could not overcome the deficit. A Derrah kill tied the score at 15, but the Panthers went on a 6-1 run to charge ahead 21-16. However, the Hens refused to lie down easily, and returned the favor, going 6-1 to tie the score at 22. A Dani Kritter PO ’15 kill tied it again at 23, but the Panthers clawed two points to take the third game.
Kritter notched an ace and Yamasaki slammed a pair of kills as P-P went ahead early in the fourth game, 9-2. Kritter snuck in a well-place kill, making it 14-5, and Schultz and Frappier added more kills to stretch the P-P lead to 10. The Panthers scored four in a row, making it 20-14, but Yamasaki and Cahill blocked a Chapman kill attempt and Frappier notched yet another kill to close out the match and the seniors’ last home match. Smilkstein and Bauthier both had double-digit digs on the night, and Frappier maintained her kills-per-set average with 24 in the match.
The Hens hit the road on Saturday afternoon and traveled to Caltech for their last match of the regular season. Coach Valerie Cowan chose to rest a majority of the starters in preparation for the SCIAC Tournament next week, and the younger players did not disappoint. Derrah and Sarah Gamble PO ’17 each knocked a kill to start the game, and a block by Gamble and Samantha Quesada-Diaz PZ ’17 put the Hens up 6-1. Gamble and Yamasaki both added a pair of kills, and Kritter’s second ace of the game made the score 16-9. P-P surged ahead by scoring five in a row, and although Caltech fought back with five points of its own in a row, the Hens clinched the first game, 25-18. The Hens cruised through the second and third games of the match without much trouble. Lena Fox PO ’17 sparked the second game with three kills and two service aces within P-P’s first nine points. Gamble and Quesada-Diaz each added a pair of kills, and Emma Burdekin PO ’16 contributed on two blocks, bringing the Hens’ lead to 13 points. Caltech scraped up a few points, but P-P took the second game 25-12.
The third game progressed in the same pattern: Stephanie Sun PO ’17 slammed two kills in a row as part of a P-P eight-point run, and a combined block from Derrah and Gamble put the Hens ahead early 12-3. Quesada-Diaz had a pair of kills, Gamble served up three aces, and a kill from Stephanie Sun clinched the game, the match, and P-P’s 20th win of the season.
After the strong finish to the regular season, P-P kicked off postseason play with a first round matchup against No. 23 CMS at California Lutheran University. The Hens had won the previous two match-ups against their Sixth Street rivals, but the Athenas came ready to play from the get-go. CMS jumped out to early leads in the first two sets, and despite strong comebacks from the Hens, won both sets to claim a big 2-0 advantage. The Hens were not done yet, though, and fought back to win the third set 25-19, thanks in large part to a 4-0 run late in the set led by Frappier.
In the fourth game, P-P was the one to jump out to an early 7-2 lead. Both sides continued to trade points until the score reached 14-12 in favor of the Hens. At that point, the Athenas took over the game and went on an 8-0 run to claim a 20-14 lead. From there the game was all but over, and CMS sealed a date with Cal Lutheran in the finals on Saturday with the 25-21 victory. Frappier had another strong game, leading the team in both kills and digs with 16 and 23 respectively, but also received help from Smilkstein, who finished with 17 digs. Audrey Breitwieser CM ’16 led the way for the Athenas, compiling 18 kills.
P-P finished 12-4 in SCIAC, good for second place with a superb 0.750 winning percentage. The Sagehens themselves posted some impressive statistics as well: In the cumulative season, P-P hit 1,312 kills (Frappier hit 474 of those—that’s 36 percent) as compared to 884 in the 2012 season. This is the Hens’ first 20-win season since 2008, and they’re looking to continue improving. Schultz is just a sophomore, but had triple-digit kills and 88 digs for the season, and the talented first-year class shows the same promise. With a large core of starters returning, look for the Hens to have another strong showing next year.