Athenas Advance to Second Round, Edge Texas-Dallas

photo credit: Southwestern Athletics
photo credit: Southwestern Athletics

CMS Postmatch Interview

GEORGETOWN, Texas - It was back and forth all match long, but the No. 6 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's volleyball team edged the Texas-Dallas Comets 3-1 (22-25, 25-23, 25-15, 25-23) in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday afternoon. Margaux Arntson (CMC) led the Athenas' offense with 16 kills in the match.

Isabelle Taylor (CMC) was a force to be reckoned with on both offense and defense. She finished the contest with 11 kills and 11 digs for one of only two double-doubles in the match. Clara Madsen (CMC) registered the other, finishing with 29 assists and 13 digs for the Athenas.

The opening set was a heavyweight fight between the Comets and the Athenas. After a bit of early nerves, the Athenas calmed down and went on a 7-1 run to take a 10-6 lead. Back-to-back kills from Margaux Arntson highlighted the run and forced a timeout from the Comets. Following the timeout, a 9-4 run for Texas-Dallas gave the Comets the lead back at 15-14.

CMS responded with a run of their own taking seven of the next nine points to hold control of the game at 21-17. During the run, five different Athenas tallied kills with Isabelle Taylor collecting for back-to-back kills.

Following a service error from CMS, the Comets won the next six points to take the lead back at 23-21. A kill from Taylor ended the run, but Texas-Dallas won the next two points with kills from Lauren Schilling and Alana Geymer to finish the set 25-22.

The second set was more of the same between the Comets and Athenas. CMS jumped out to leads of 4-0 and 6-2, but Texas-Dallas hung around and took a 10-9 lead after an 8-3 run. The momentum flipped once again thanks to a 7-2 CMS run. Following the streak, the Athenas held a 16-12 lead.

The Comets clawed their way back to within one point at 22-21 and 24-23, but the Athenas held on with Shelbi Stein (CMC) ending the game with a kill to give CMS the game (25-23) to even the match at 1-1.

In the important third set, the Athenas set the tone early taking a 7-3 lead thanks in part to six errors by the Comets. CMS continued to build their lead throughout the set, eventually ending the set on a 6-1 run to take the a 2-1 lead in the match.

Just as the match had been all night, it was tight throughout the fourth set. Neither team led by more than three points throughout the entire set. The set was tied 12-12 before a quick three-point streak for Texas-Dallas gave the Comets a 15-12 lead. The Athenas called a timeout before going on a 7-3 run to take the lead at 19-18.

Looking to force a decisive fifth set, the Comets turned the tables once again behind a 5-3 run and took a 23-22 lead. Shelbi Stein connected on kill to end the Comets' streak and tie the match at 23-23 before two attacking errors from Texas-Dallas ended the match and moved the Athenas to the Second Round.

The Athenas swung at a .203 clip in the match while the Comets hit at just a .108 mark. As mentioned, Arntson led the offensive effort with 16 kills, while Stein (13 kills) and Taylor (11 kills) joined the West Region Player of the Year with double-digit kills.

Mikena Werner (SC) finished with 24 digs to lead four Athenas with 10-plus digs. Clara Madsen paired a match-high 29 assists with 13 digs to register her seventh double-double of the season and second in as many matches.

With the victory, the Athenas advance to the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament against the winner of the Southwester-Whittier match later tonight. The Athenas will play at 5:00 p.m. CT/3:00 p.m. PT on Saturday afternoon.