The CMS Volleyball team capped off its weekend with a win over the top ranked team in the nation, Juniata College, Saturday afternoon. Participating in the Leopard Invitational at the University of La Verne, the Athenas squared off with the #1, #2 and #3 ranked teams in Division III. Friday pitted CMS against #2 Emory University. The Eagles entered the contest 19-3 overall, undefeated in NCAA III play. The only un-ranked participant in the tournament, CMS stepped up to the challenge and led by middle blocker Jamie Matusiak (Sr., CMC, Tucson AZ) who recorded 12 kills on 13 attempts, played Emory within 2 points in each of the first 2 sets, dropping both 23-25. Set 3 belonged to the Athenas as they jumped out to an early lead and never looked back, winning 25-17, but the experienced Eagle squad rebounded in set 4 and held off the Athenas by another 2 point margin, capturing the match, 25-23. Freshman outside hitter, Emily Hudson (CMC, South Pasadena CA) had a CMS team high 16 kills, while libero Greer Donley (Sr., CMC, Leawood KS) paced the defense with 15 digs, and fellow defensive specialist, Jessica Waggoner (So., CMC, Scottsdale AZ) contributed 3 aces and 13 digs of her own.
Match 2 of the tournament was a familiar pairing of #3 University of La Verne and CMS, Saturday morning. Counted as a conference match, both teams took the floor focused and ready to compete. The teams exchanged points in short runs for most of set one, but leading 20-18, CMS gave up a 7-3 run and Crista Jones put the final kill away for La Verne to give them set 1, 25-23. The Leopards controlled set 2 and decisively won 25-12. The Leopards then led for much of set 3, but at down 11-24, the Athenas regained composure and went on a 10 point run, bringing the score within 3 points. But it was too little too late, and Crista Jones capped off her effort with the match winning kill for La Verne, downing CMS 25-21. Setter, Alex Harrison (Sr., CMC, Tucson AZ) had 27 assists in the match and middle blocker, Leanne Ringquist (So., CMC, Ben Lomond CA) had 5 kills in set 3 for CMS.
Several hours later, CMS took the floor against the defending national champions, and top ranked team, Juniata College. Coming off wins against both La Verne and Emory, the Juniata Eagles were in position to capture a third win, but when CMS pulled out the first set 27-25 on back to back kills by sophomore Jenna Suttmeier (SCR, Issaquah WA), it was clear that the Athenas would not go down easily. Recording a season high 15 blocks in the match, CMS managed to hold off Juniata, winning sets 1 and 3, before Juniata captured set 4 to force a deciding set 5. CMS stunned the Juniata squad, jumping out to a 9-0 lead holding the Eagles to just 5 kills in set 5, completing the upset win by a score of 15-6. Hudson totaled a team-high 15 kills in the win while Leanne Ringquist and Helena Bottemiller (Sr., CMC, Burien WA) contributed 9 kills each. Harrison and Kristine Grigsby (Sr., CMC, Issaquah WA) shared setting duties, totaling 22 and 23 assists, respectively. Grigsby also notched 7 kills in the effort.
Coach Dianna Graves was pleased with her team's performance on the weekend. "Rarely do you get the opportunity to compete against the top teams in the nation in one forum. University of La Verne hosted a great tournament and I was happy to see our team rise to the occasion and compete well against class-act programs like Emory, La Verne and Juniata."
Emily Hudson and Greer Donley were named to the All-Tournament Team. Full tournament results and statistics are available at http://www.leopardathletics.com/sports/fall/wvball/2008-09/news/10-11-08_tournament_results
CMS will enjoy a week without competition before a home double-header with La Sierra University and Caltech on Tuesday, October 21. Match times are 5:00 and 7:30, respectively.