The CMS Volleyball team dropped its first conference match of the 2008 season to #18 Cal Lutheran University Friday night 3 sets to 1. The Athenas started off strong, going ahead in set 1 by 4 points before the Regals' Erin Exline went on a 7 point serving run to lock in the team's first win 25-18. Set 2 was also close until the halfway mark when a missed serve by CMS gave Cal Lutheran the momentum it needed to pull ahead permanently, 25-17. The Athenas rallied back in set 3 and put together runs of its own, led by middle blocker Jamie Matusiak (Jr., CMC, Tucson AZ) who served 4 in a row after a punctuating kill early in the set. Cal Lutheran battled back and the teams were tied at 24, before CMS picked up a kill and a Cal Lutheran error gave CMS the win 26-24. But the Athenas could not maintain the momentum and fell behind early in set 4. The Regals served tough and pressured the normally composed CMS serve receive keeping the Athenas from ever settling into an offensive rhythm and the final set went to Cal Lutheran 25-15. Play from the CMS middle blockers was strong as Helena Bottemiller (Sr., CMC, Burien WA) hit .563 with 10 kills and Matusiak added 11 kills, hitting just over .360.
Saturday evening, the Athenas traveled to University of Redlands to take on the Bulldogs. Rebounding nicely after the prior night's defeat, CMS was well in control of set 1, leading 20-8 before Redlands went on a stunning 7 point run. But a CMS timeout resulted in a point and the Athenas held the Bulldogs off 25-18. Set 2 went much the same. CMS put together 4 runs of 3 or more as Redlands struggled in serve receive and the Athenas won the set 25-17. Set 3 was a battle, both teams totaling 17 kills, neither giving up more than 2-3 points at a time. Down 16-20, CMS then broke through and scored 4 consecutive points to narrow the Bulldogs' lead. Tied at 26, the Athenas picked up their 27th point on a kill from setter, Alex Harrison (Sr., CMC, Tucson AZ), and an ace by Angela Estrella-Lemus (So., CMC, Gilroy CA) won the match, 28-26. Estrella-Lemus had 9 kills in the effort, as did Jamie Matusiak. She and outside hitter, Sarah Marietta (Fr., SCR, Monument CO) hit .412 on the night, and libero Greer Donley (Sr., CMS, Leawood KS) paced the defense with 17 digs, aided by defensive specialist, Jessica Waggoner (So., CMC, Scottsdale AZ), who had 12. Harrison added 34 assists.
CMS finished the weekend 4-1 in conference play. They will face Occidental College Tuesday night at Ducey Gym (7:30 pm), before heading to University of La Verne Friday and Saturday to take on the top 3 teams in the nation: Emory University (#2) Friday at 4:00 pm; ULV (#3) Saturday at 11:00 am; Juniata College (#1) Saturday at 4:00 pm.