Big Game Snapshot: Athenas Outgun Sagehens
On Tuesday evening, the CMS Athenas defeated the Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens 3-1 in a nighttime volleyball match in Ducey Gym. The Athenas took a 2-0 advantage and sealed the win in the fourth set 25-21. Conference volleyball brings a special energy to Ducey Gym. This rivalry match-up did not disappoint – the atmosphere was palpably electric. The outdoor and indoor heat did not deter the PP faithful or CMS’ contingent as several hundred fans packed the stands to sweat it out alongside their girls. CMC Senior and defensive superstar Greer Donley had this to say about the importance of the game: “Playing PP has the potential to be the best or worst night of your life”. The Athenas were enjoying a homecoming of sorts, returning after a weekend in Chicago where they went 2-2. The Sagehens were also pumped up, riding high on a 6-game win streak, led by their recent SCIAC Athlete of the Week middle hitter, Megan Prior.
In the opening set, the girls pulled out a narrow 25-23 win. After taking a 1-0 advantage, the Athenas opened up a comfortable margin in the second set. With their opponents nearly pulling away, PP coach Valerie Cowan called time, and settled her Sagehens down. The Sagehens clawed back to tie the set up with a string of unanswered points. Finally, after a CMS timeout by Coach Diana Graves, the Athenas won 4 of the final 5 points to close out the second set 25-22 and take a commanding 2-0 lead overall.
Volleyball is a game of energy, a game of constant huddling and hugging, punctuated by yells of joy following each point. Helena Bottemiller (CMC SR) commented on the crowd after the match: “After being on the road, it was incredible to handle Pomona at home with such a fired-up crowd, they really kept our energy level up”. “It really makes everything more fun and makes you remember why you play – you remember that it is so much bigger than yourself,” added Donley. The Athenas dropped the third set but regained their momentum to close out the Sagehens in four.
Defensively, the Athenas were led by libero Donley, who was diving around with reckless abandon, accumulating 28 digs. Setter Alex Harrison (CMC SR) racked up 52 sets, more than PP’s entire team. Bottemiller and Emily Hudson (CMC FR) led the offensive with 16 and 15 kills respectively. The Athenas are now 3-0 in conference, but looking forward, they’re reservedly optimistic. “We take it one game at a time, and right now we are focused on taking care of Cal Lu on Friday,” said Bottemiller. The girls host Cal Lu at 7:30pm.