Regals Win Five-Set Thriller Against No. 2 CMS; Give Athenas First Loss in SCIAC

Samantha Landrum and Tylor Johnson combine for a block as the Regals take down CMS 3-2.
Samantha Landrum and Tylor Johnson combine for a block as the Regals take down CMS 3-2.

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – It was a showdown between power houses Friday night and it was the Cal Lutheran Regals volleyball team that walked off the court with a signature win, 3-2, over the No. 2 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Athenas inside Gilbert Arena. The sets went 31-29, 18-25, 14-25, 25-23, 15-10.  

Cal Lutheran has now defeated the No. 2 and No. 3 ranked teams in the nation. Johnson & Wales, which the Regals took down on Aug. 31, is currently ranked No. 3.

CLU gave CMS its first SCIAC loss of the season and ended the Athenas eight-game win streak. The Regals are now 12-9 on the year and 6-4 in the SCIAC.

The biggest difference in the match was made around the net. Cal Lutheran shut down CMS at the net and recorded 14 total team blocks compared to the Athenas' 5. The freshmen shined at the net as Maci Haddad set a new career-high with 10 total blocks, two solo and eight assisted. Samantha Landrum was right behind her with nine block assists.

The defense turned into great offense as three Regals recorded double-digit kills. Haddad was lights-out offensively and led Cal Lutheran with 14 kills, while hitting with an attack percentage of .406. She recorded her first collegiate double-double. 

Amanda Roberts and Taylor Johnson both also took big swings for CLU and had 11 and 10 kills, respectively. Roberts added 14 digs and tallied a double-double. Johnson sent back four big blocks at the net. 

Steph Rolfson and Jennifer Kent kept the offense moving as the Regals took 183 total swings. Rolfson recorded 27 assists Kent added 13 more. Rolfson continued her stat line with four digs and three service aces. 

Jordan MacArthur led the defense and had a team-high 17 digs. She chipped in with five kills and one block assist. Ashley Reyes was one dig short of double-digit with nine, Julia Trento was next with eight, Carly Rose Howard chipped in with six, Kent put up five and CJ O'Brien added four more. 

In the first set CMS went up early and had a 6-3 lead. With the Athenas up 9-7, CLU went on a 6-0 run and took a 13-9 lead. Haddad and Amy McKee tallied a kill and Roberts served an ace. CMS got back into the game and was only down two, 17-15. The game then turned into a defensive matchup at the net as Landrum and Johnson combined for back-to-back blocks and CLU was up 19-15. A few plays later, Kent made an amazing dive for a dig, Martinez was there to keep the ball alive and Haddad swatted down the kill as the Regals went up 23-22. 

The game went past 25 points in the first set. With CMS up 26-25, Roberts connected on back-to-back kills to give CLU the lead. With Cal Lutheran down, again, this time at 29-28, Haddad and Landrum combined for a block and then Haddad recorded a solo block. The next two play by CMS was attacking errors and CLU claimed the first set 31-29. 

The Athenas bounced back and took the next two sets and had a 2-1 lead in the match. CMS won 25-18 in the second set and 25-14 in the third.

The Regals were looking to force a fifth set and opened the fourth with a 6-3 lead. Landrum and Haddad swatted down kills and Kent served an ace during the run. After a CMS point, CLU scored three straight points, two coming off kills from Johnson and Mackenzie Martinez. CMS then cut the lead to two, 10-8, and CLU fired right back as Martinez connected on another kill, which was followed by a Rolfson ace. 

Cal Lutheran continued to hold the lead midway through the set. Howard served back-to-back aces for a 16-11 lead, which forced CMS to take a timeout. The Athenas then answered with a 4-0 run of their own, and CLU called a timeout. CMS continued its run and scored six points in all and took the lead. Johnson stopped the run with a kill and the fourth set was tied at 17. 

The score was the tied at 19 before CMS scored two straight and the Athenas took a 21-19 lead. With CMS up 23-20, the Regals made their move. Cal Lutheran scored the next five points to force a fifth and final set. Haddad and Roberts both recorded a kill, Haddad and Landrum combined for a huge block and Rolfson served a key ace. Cal Lutheran and No. 2 CMS moved to a decisive fifth set. 

The teams went back and forth early on and were tied from 1 all the way to 4. CMS then went on a 5-2 run and was up 9-6. Roberts made it 9-7 after a strong kill. Roberts kept the points coming and made it a one-point game after another kill. After a great serve from Rolfson, the Athenas passed the ball back to CMS and Haddad was right there for the kill and the third straight point for CLU. 

CLU took its first lead of the fifth set as Rolfson then served an ace for the 10-9 lead. With CLU up 11-10, the Regals picked up the play around the net. Landrum and Haddad combined for back-to-back blocks and Cal Lutheran was up 13-10. Cal Lutheran finished the match by scoring the final five points. Haddad and MacArthur combined for a block assist for the final point as CLU won the set 15-10 and the match 3-2. 

Cal Lutheran looks to continue its hot play Saturday. The Regals are on the road and take on Redlands Saturday at 2 p.m. 

Interview with Head Coach Kellee Roesel and athletes Amanda Roberts and Steph Rolfson


Box Score: CLU 3, No. 2 CMS 2
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Release by Ryan Jorgenson, Sports Information Director


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