Athenas Spike Redlands, Chapman to Extend Streak

The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women’s volleyball team
(16-4, 7-1 SCIAC) earned two more league victories to add to its impressive season thus far. The team won 3-0 against the University of Redlands (1-12, 1-7 SCIAC) Oct. 4, and 3-1 against Chapman University (4-13, 3-5 SCIAC) Oct. 7.

The
Athenas had a strong lead in their first set against Redlands, winning the
first point and maintaining a tough counter to the Redlands offense. All of
the starting players held strong positions on the court and were able to play
together as a powerful unit.

Shelbi
Stein CM ’18 started out the
second set with a 13-1 serving run, giving the Athenas a large lead. With strong kills from both Audrey Breitwieser CM ’16 and Nicole
Kerkhof CM ’17, the team won
the set 25-11.

While
the third set started out more shaky for the Athenas, a kill by Kerkhof
initiated a streak of wins for CMS. The team continued to steadily gain points
and won 25-19 after Redlands struggled to score at the end of the set.

The
Athenas were able to emphasize many of the skills they had been working on in
practice to clinch their conference win.

“We had really good
carry-over from the practice the day before,” Sarah Bruml SC ’18 said. “One of the specific things was to
find our right side, and that was one of the biggest carry-overs that helped
tremendously in the game.”

In a rocky start to their match against Chapman,
the Athenas lost the first set 25-17. With attack and kill errors on the CMS
side, Chapman was able to pull ahead. However, the Athenas continued to fight and won the next three sets.

Megan
Coleman CM ’15 led all of the players in the match
with 29 digs as Kerkhof shined through with 20 kills, and Breitwieser followed with 13 kills.

“The team pulled
through,” Stein said. “We won in four against Chapman who beat us last year, so it was a big win
for us.” 

Whether the results are positive or not, the team remains supportive of one another through the good and bad games. The players provide positive motivation to each other, and upperclassmen leaders help refocus the Athenas to move forward. 

“One thing I really
like about the team is that no matter where we are in a match, our captains and
our upperclassmen have really great leadership skills and know what to say and
when to say it,” Stein said. “If we are all feeling really overwhelmed, they really bring us
down and back to reality, and their leadership really helps our team succeed.”

In addition, the team is player-oriented. While the coaches help players determine what
they can to do to improve their skills, the players work with one another to drive the success of the team.

“[Our coaches] want
us to look within the team instead of at [them] for help,” Bruml said. “They’re not on the court
with you; they can tell you what to do, and they can help lift up your spirits and tell you what you did wrong, but your teammates help you more.”

The
coaches also work toward running good practices and creating effective training regimens in
order to to make the team as successful as possible. They set goals and work
toward them but know that the players are ultimately the only ones who can achieve
those goals.

“Our coaches set our
goals, and they have expectations for our success, but we are the ones that
dictate where we go and how we do it,” Stein
said.

The Athenas have been focusing on their system and trying to perfect it as they continue to look forward to the remainder of the season.

“We are definitely
preparing for the [California Lutheran University (19-1, 8-0 SCIAC)] game; we see
them as a real competitor,” Bruml said. “Everyone in the division is a strong competitor, but
we are focusing on them since they are our only loss so far.”

However,
the team feels ready to take on any competitor that may be thrown its way. CMS has a great unity within their team and feel most capable when working together.

“We’ve been very
cohesive and playing together a lot more, which is really important, especially
when you have really big and ambitious goals,” Stein said. “It’s important to
remember where you came from and what you’re capable of, and
everyone has each others’ backs.” 

The
Athenas are back on the court when they visit the California Institute of Technology Oct. 14.

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