CMS Starts Strong in SCIAC Play With Three Victories

With a tough
schedule looming on the horizon, the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps volleyball team
(12-3, 3-0 SCIAC) prepared by clinching their first three conference
wins this past week.

CMS began
with a win in their home opener vs. the California Institute of Technology
(0-8, 0-3 SCIAC) on Sept. 19. They held the Beavers to just six and five points
in the first two sets before getting the 25-12 win in the third, with significant contributions from underclassmen players. 

Quinn Morrison SC ’17 put down
nine kills, while Shelbi Stein CM ’18 played an all-around game with nine kills,
nine digs and six service aces. Crystal Anderson CM ’18 added 10 kills
with no hitting errors.

Head coach
Kurt Vlasich is very proud of the group of athletes he has brought in this season.

“They are setting
a tone that they want to be in this for the long haul,” Vlasich said. 

On Sept. 20,
the Athenas picked up another win at University of La Verne (8-2, 3-1 SCIAC). After losing the
first set 19-25, CMS came back to win the next two matches 25-16 and 25-1,
before falling short by three points in the fourth set.

With
the combined attack of Anderson and captain Audrey Breitwieser CM ’16, the
Athenas then crushed the Leopards 15-4 in the fifth set.

Breitwieser
led the offensive attack with 18 kills in the match. Margaux Arntson CM
’18 added 13 and Stein and Mariah Rigg CM ’18 added eight and seven,
respectfully.

“This
weekend was a character-building match for us,” Breitwieser said. “I think we
did a great job expecting the unexpected and working through some adversity.”

The Athenas saw an even offensive attack Sept. 23 in their 3-1 win over Whittier (2-7,
1-2 SCIAC). Anderson, Breitwieser, Arntson and Nicole Kerkhof CM ’17 each had
11 kills in the match.

Looking
ahead to their Friday game against California Lutheran University, the Athenas will have
to make use all of these weapons to get through the block.

It’s no
secret that this team, while very young, creates an aura of competitive
greatness that shines at every practice. As shown so far this season, they have offensive threats in every position as well as a core group of defensive
specialists.

“The
competition in the gym is so intense,” Vlasich said. “It’s been really fun for
us coaches to watch our players compete for starting spots.”

Despite all the competition for playing time, the team still believes in
strengthening their chemistry and encouraging each other to be at their
best for the chance to compete at the NCAA tournament. So far, the first-year class
has shown that they are here to compete, and their enthusiasm is backed by strong support from the returners.

“The biggest
challenge for me this year is moving beyond what I can do for myself and
focusing on helping my teammates be the best they can be as well,” Breitwieser
said.

As the
Athenas continue to work with each other in practice and compete hard in games,
they feel ready for the next challenge. CMS, ranked No. 19, faces No. 2 California Lutheran (13-1, 2-0 SCIAC) today, Sept. 26, in a game that will surely
test their commitment to competition and
performance.

“It’s
important to remember that we are still the underdogs, and while other people
may see us as a threat, we can’t get too confident,” Breitwieser said. “Even
though we are ranked we have to see every match as a challenge and never go
into [a game] too complacent.”

Tomorrow, the
Athenas will host the rivalry game against Pomona-Pitzer (7-5, 1-2 SCIAC), a match that
everyone is amped up for, especially the first-years.

“I’m excited
to be in that environment and experience the competitiveness of each of those
games and see how our team reacts to each situation,” Anderson said.

The game
will take place at Harvey Mudd’s Linde Activities Center at 6 p.m.

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