Top-10 takedown for CMS Volleyball

Nicole Kerkhof (Photo by Milan Reed)
Nicole Kerkhof (Photo by Milan Reed)

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – In the second tournament of the season, the No. 4 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's volleyball team went 4-0 again with victories over No. 6 Emory, No. 10 Washington University-St. Louis, East Texas Baptist and Wheaton.

Over the weekend, junior Crystal Anderson (CMC) led the Athenas with a stunning team-high of 10 solo blocks. She was also tied for second on the team with 38 kills for a .257 hitting percentage. CMS' leading attacker, senior Nicole Kerkhof (CMC) had 59 kills over the four games highlighted by 17 in the four set match vs. Wheaton. The Madsen sisters shared setting duties again as Clara Madsen (CMC) assisted 102 kills and Phoebe Madsen (CMC) had 57 assists.

Junior Mikena Werner (SCR) handled the majority of the digs at 88 and was assisted in a big way by freshman defensive specialist Sarah Tritschler (CMC) who added 16 digs against Emory.

Head coach Kurt Vlasich credited the success of the weekend to the experience of the returners who have been in big moments and played against top opponents in the past.

Game 1: East Texas Baptist (25-22, 25-16, 25-12) | Box Score

In the first game of the tournament, the Athenas made quick work of the strong ETBU team. The Tigers are coming off a 21-7 season in 2015 and rallied against the powerful CMS, especially in the first set.

The match saw CMS with just 35 kills but the Athenas also limited their errors to a mere six, finishing with just one in the final set. Anderson set the stage for the weekend with five solo blocks in the first match.

Game 2: No. 6 Emory (25-21, 25-16, 21-25, 26-24) | Box Score

CMS rose to the challenge of facing Emory so early in the season. The Eagles are a perennial powerhouse in DIII volleyball who posted a 34-4 record and fell in the third round of the NCAA tournament in 2015. The Athenas met Emory last season in mid-September in a five-set match which tipped in CMS' favor.

While CMS did not have the blocking stats to show for their defense against the aggressive Emory, the blockers slowed the ball down and allowed the Athena offense to do their work. Three hitters were in double-digit kills: Kerkhof and Shelbi Stein (CMC) each had 14 while Anderson added 11. The team racked up 97 digs with Werner in the lead at 30.

Game 3: Wheaton (20-25, 25-19, 25-15, 25-9) | Box Score

Similar to the last season, CMS dropped the first set only to win three straight for the 3-1 victory against the tall and powerful athletes from Wheaton. Werner and Anderson again put up big numbers with 30 digs and four solo blocks respectively. Additionally, Kerkhof, Werner and Phoebe Madsen each had a pair of service aces in the match.

Game 4: Washington-St. Louis (25-17, 25-20, 25-18) | Box Score

The last time these two teams met, WashU won in five sets at the Emory National Invitational. This time, CMS came out swinging and earned the victory in straight sets. Kerkhof was good for 16 kills with only two errors for a .350 percentage in the match. The blocking was spread out among the team with sophomore Hannah Grobisen (CMC) going up for two assisted blocks.

Next up for CMS is the beginning of SCIAC play with Chapman in Orange, CA on Sept. 16 at 7 p.m.

By Emily Nordhoff
Sports Information Director

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