Defensive gem in Top-15 matchup with Southwestern

Nicole Kerkhof (Photo by Connor Ortman)
Nicole Kerkhof (Photo by Connor Ortman)

CLAREMONT, Calif. – In diametrically opposite matches on Friday afternoon, the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps volleyball team went 1-1 on the day. In the first game, No. 14 Southwestern (Tex.) took on the No. 10 Athenas in a very well-played match where Southwestern came out the victor in five sets (22-25, 26-24, 25-23, 25-12, 16-14). Later that evening, CMS handled Caltech in three sets (25-12, 25-12, 25-16).

Southwestern 3, CMS 2 – Box Score

Last time these teams met, on Sep. 13, 2014, CMS earned the 3-1 victory after dropping the first set. The Pirates came into yesterday's match having won 15 of their 19 victories in straight sets, only going to five sets in the eventual loss to East Texas Baptist.

In the first set, sophomore libero Mikena Werner (SCR) ignited the Athenas, chasing down a handful of balls off the court and even into the scorer's table. In that set alone, CMS had 39 digs, primarily from Werner and junior Nicole Kerkhof (CMC).

The second set was astonishingly statistically even as the hitting percentages were within 20 points, digs within one and blocks within two. Southwestern edged out the Athenas 26-24 to even the match a one game apiece. Sophomore Mariah Rigg (CMC) had three assisted and one solo block during the set.

The attack percentage for CMS was knocked down in the third set as Southwestern recorded seven blocks including three of their final five points. Seven different Pirates contributed to the blocking with Olivia Drummond assisting on five.

The Athenas fired right back in the fourth and held the 12-7 lead as the Pirates took their first timeout. CMS only committed four errors in the set with both Crystal Anderson (CMC) and Rigg without a mar on their stat line.

Southwestern substituted Piper Sisemore into the match in the fifth set, giving the Pirates some ammunition against the momentum–filled Athenas. Sismore would register two kills and an assisted block for the Pirates.

CMS had the 8-5 lead when the teams switched sides and quickly increased the margin to 13-8. Southwestern put together three points in a row on Kaitlyn Foster's serve followed by a definitive kill by Kerkhof to give CMS their first match point at 14-11. Southwestern scored five points in a row to close out the match with Kate Mitchell owning two of the kills.

CMS recorded 150 digs during the match. The highest dig count during the last two seasons was 123 against Colorado College in the NCAA Tournament in 2014. Werner had 41, Kerkhof had 38 and sophomore setter Clara Madsen (CMC) recorded 28 digs in the game.

Three Athenas had double-digit kills in the match with Kerkhof leading at 17, followed closely by Shelbi Stein (CMC) and Anderson at 16 and 14 respectively.

CMS 3, Caltech 0 – Box Score

Later that evening against Caltech, Anderson would go for another 12 kills and freshman Kimmy Tuttle (CMC) recorded her first career double-double at 10 kills and 13 digs. Freshman Hannah Grobisen (CMC) was errorless in the game and hit .429 with three kills.

Today, CMS hosts No. 21 La Verne (16-3, 10-1 SCIAC) for a rematch after their epic five-set match on Sep. 22. Last night, ULV came back from being down by two sets to the No. 6 ranked Cal Lutheran to ultimately win 15-11 in the fifth set.

By Emily Nordhoff
Sports Information Director

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