CLAREMONT, Calif.— Two SCIAC powerhouses battled it out on Wednesday night and Cal Lutheran's upset bid came up just short as Claremont-Mudd-Scripps escaped from the clutches of Regals volleyball 22-25, 15-25, 25-18, 28-26, 8-15.
It was CLU's second five-set match in three games and fourth this year. After winning the first two, the Regals ended up on the losing end in the past two. The loss dropped the Regals to 11-9 overall and 5-4 in SCIAC play.
The game marked the start of the second half of conference play. The Regals currently sit in the fourth spot, two games ahead of the fifth-place team.
The first set remained close, early and often, as the Regals looked for a upset against the No. 5 Athenas. Just over halfway through the match, CMS finally strung some points together and had the advantage as they led 22-15. The Regals had other plans and scored seven straight points to cut the set to just a one-point lead. Samantha Landrum and Maci Haddad combined for a block, Landrum followed it with a kill and Jenna Jones served three straight aces to cap off the run. After a CMS point, Haddad kept the Regals within one-point with a kill, 23-22, but the Athenas scored the final two points and took the set 25-22.
Cal Lutheran looked to bounce back in the second set and doubled up CMS at 10-5. The Athenas fought through and slowly cut away at the Regals' lead. With CLU up 13-10, CMS scored eight straight points and had an 18-13 lead. The Athenas coasted the rest of the way and claimed the second set 25-15.
The Regals were determined to not go down without a fight and it all started with the third set. CLU used runs of five and four as they separated themselves from CMS midway through the set. The first run saw a kill from Morgan Given, Mackenzie Martinez and Christina Williams and Sarah Hein served an ace. The four-point run was decisive and gave the Regals momentum as a 12-12 game had the Violet and Gold up 16-12. It was the space Cal Lutheran needed as they claimed a 25-18 win and avoided a sweep.
The Regals carried the momentum to the fourth set and took a quick 6-2 lead. With CMS up 2-0, Cal Lutheran fired back with six straight points as Haddad recorded four points and Hein added two. Haddad started the run with back-to-back kills, Hein followed with back-to-back kills and Haddad finished the run with a block and a kill. A few plays later, the Athenas responded with a run of their own, totaling six points in all and took a 10-7 lead. After a timeout, Cal Lutheran turned the tables as they put together a 7-0 run. Jennifer Kent recorded two aces and Given had a kill and CLU was up 14-11.
The set continued with run after run, this one being 4-0 as CMS took back the lead 15-14. After a three-point run by Cal Lutheran, CMS answered with a five-point swing and took a 21-17 advantage. The Regals continued to fight all the way to end, even being down 24-21, they would not go away and scored three straight to tie the set. With the score knotted up at 26-all, Hein and Williams combined for a big block to give CLU an advantage. The Athenas had an attacking error on the very next play, giving the Regals a 28-26 win, and pushed the match to a final set.
The fifth set continued with the trend of runs. After CLU took a 1-0 lead, CMS was there with a five-point run and took the lead. Cal Lutheran cut the set to two, 7-5, but the Athenas used a 4-0 run and had a 11-5 lead. The distance was what CMS needed as the Athenas won the fifth set 15-8 and escaped with a 3-2 match win.
Three Regals tallied double-digit kills with Haddad leading the way with 14 kills, hitting with a .324 percentage. Martinez was next with 11 kills and Given was right behind her with 10.
Kent moved the ball well and dished out 37 assists and it is the fourth time this year she has had 35-plus. She added 12 digs and tallied her seventh double-double of the season.
Defensively, Carly Rose Howard led the way with 18 digs and Ashley Reyes tallied 13. Williams tallied a season-high seven blocks, two of which were solo, Haddad added four more and Given chipped in with three.
The Regals are back in action Friday as they try to get back in the win column. Cal Lutheran host La Verne at 7 p.m. in Gilbert Arena.
Box Score: No. 5 CMS 3, CLU 2
CLU Instagram: CLUSports
Sport IG: regals_volleyball
CLU Twitter: CLUSports
Sport Twitter: CLUwVolleyball
CLU Facebook: CLUSports
Hashtags: #clusports #ownthethrone #goregals #gokingsmen #theSCIAC #ncaad3
Release by Ryan Jorgenson, Sports Information Director