Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (23-5) posted a stellar 15-1 record during SCIAC regular season play and earned the top seed in the conference championship for the first time under head coach Kurt Vlasich. The Athenas, who have appeared in five consecutive SCIAC Tournament title matches, will host fourth-seeded Chapman (16-10, 10-6 SCIAC) on Thursday, Nov. 2 at 7 p.m.
La Verne notched a record of 18-8 overall, 11-5 in SCIAC play to earn the second seed in the conference tournament, and will host third-seeded Cal Lutheran (15-11, 10-6 SCIAC) in Thursday's other semifinal contest. The winners of Thursday's semifinal matches will square for the SCIAC tournament championship on Saturday, Nov. 4 at 6 p.m. on the campus of the highest remaining seed.
The Regals won last year's SCIAC Tournament crown to earn the league's automatic qualifier to the NCAA Division III Championship. Cal Lutheran advanced to the NCAA Regional Championship but fell to Northwestern (Minn.), 3-2. La Verne and CMS each earned at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament in 2016 and both sides were handed a loss in the opening round.
A LOOK AT THE FIELD
CMS takes the court riding a 14-match winning streak and have lost a mere four sets during that stretch. Against SCIAC competition this season, the Athenas were led by Margaux Arntson who smashed a team-high 153 kills and hit at a stellar .353 clip. Clara Madsen directed the CMS offense dishing out 329 assists against conference foes, while Mikena Werner was the team's leader in the defensive backcourt notching 233 digs (4.66 per set).
La Verne enters SCIAC postseason action having won six of its last nine matches. The Leopards are led by Marisa Rojo who downed 173 kills (2.84 per frame) and dug 138 balls (2.26 per set) during the SCIAC slate. Kristen Sanchez added 275 digs (4.44 per set), while Madison Maynes handed out 387 assists (6.24 per set).
Third-seeded Cal Lutheran won seven of its last eight matches to close out the regular season. The Regals are led by Amanda Roberts who led the team in kills with 107 during the SCIAC season averaging 2.79 kills per frame. Steph Rolfson ignited the attack with 304 assists (5.07 per set), while Emma Cisneros-Luebke added 242 digs (4.48 per stanza).
Chapman has won four straight matches and five of the last six en route to capturing the fourth seed in the conference tournament. The Panthers are led by Courtney Justus who tallied 137 kills during conference play, while Jessica Blum propelled the offense with 350 assists (5.74 per set). Sara Utsugi paced Chapman's defensive efforts wtih 148 digs averaging 3.29 per set.