After games against Redlands and UC Santa Barbara, the CMS Athenas hope to receive an at-large birth to the NCAA tournament. The Athenas started strong this year with a 11-1 record as of press time, their only setback being a 15-7 loss to Connecticut College of the New England Small College Athletic Conference, the toughest Division III conference in the country.
Last year, the Athenas entered the postseason with a 13-3 record and faced off at home vs. Ohio Wesleyan and came out 19-17 victors before falling to second ranked The College of New Jersey 12-3 in the second round.
With wins against fellow independents Puget Sound, Whittier, and Colorado College, and an 11-0 record in region, the team is ranked as fifth out of the at-large contenders by laxpower.com, and second in the west behind Wooster of the North Coast Athletic Conference. They are inside the bubble and will need a win over Redlands to cement their at-large bid.
The Athenas softball (26-12, 15-9 SCIAC) team will take on the University of La Verne in the first round of the SCIAC tournament, a double elimination tournament. A season split (2-2) gives the third seeded Athenas confidence against the second seeded Tigers of La Verne at Redlands, Saturday at 9 a.m. A victory would most likely pit them against first seeded Redlands, a team that the Athenas are also two and two on the season against. Solid hitting and good pitching will be the key for this team to advance to NCAA’s.
Last year, the team came in with a second seed and dropped close matchups to third seeded La Verne and first seeded Redlands, eliminating the Athenas from postseason contention. With the emergence of Weingart as a strong number two starter, the Athenas now look tougher than ever.
The team is led by their pitching, with the best earned run average in SCIAC, which is led by aces Julia Cruz SC ’10 and Erika Weingart CM ’09. The bats of Melissa Munoz SC ’11, second on the team in batting average and first in slugging percentage, and Gizelle Pera CM ’11, who leads the team in batting average and on base percentage, will be key to this weekend’s competition.
The Stags Tennis team (25-4, 10-0 SCIAC) will take on the University of California, Santa Cruz Banana Slugs Saturday at 12 p.m. for the top regional ranking in the West and the right to host the first three rounds of the NCAA tournament. A win at Santa Cruz would give the Stags, who have already qualified for NCAA’s with their SCIAC title, the chance to win the National Championship without having to leave their home courts.
Last Year, the Stags won their match-up at home vs. UC-Santa Cruz and won three rounds plus a bye to advance to the semifinals of the NCAA championship before dropping a 5-1 decision to the eventual National Champions from Washington University.
The Stags are led by their captain and number one singles and doubles player Larry Wang CM ’09, three-time SCIAC player of the year, and the past weekends’ Ojai singles champion. Joining Wang on the SCIAC first-team is Robert Erani CM ’12. On the second team, third singles player Mikey Lim CM ’10 and doubles’ specialist Ronald Wu CM ’11 will be instrumental in the team repeating as West Region Champions, and a possible run at a national title.