iThe Chapman volleyball team fell to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, who is ranked 18th in Division III by the American Volleyball Coaches Association, in four sets, as the Athenas grabbed the victory at Hutton Athletic Center, 3-1.
This latest defeat puts the Panthers’ record at 3-5 in Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) play and 4-13 overall.
Though the Panthers registered a season-high ten blocks, they were unable to muster up enough to hold off the Athenas’ impressive attacking play. The latest defeat sees the Panthers sitting outside of the SCIAC playoff picture, with eight games left to turn things around.
“We have all the pieces to be playoff bound, we just need to play consistent every match and not give up big strings of points,” said senior libero Andi Frisina.
Chapman claimed the first set of the match through five kills from senior middle-blocker Val Geiger, but failed to build on that momentum as Claremont swept the following three.
After conceding the second set, Chapman lost momentum in the match as Claremont began to assert its dominance. Key runs from the Athenas in the third and fourth sets proved to be the Panthers’ downfall.
Despite the loss, sophomore setter Jade Santos also kept it positive and felt the Panthers did not lose due to poor play on their part, but rather exceptionally strong play from Claremont.
“In the end, Claremont just found some holes and got on a couple of runs,” Santos said. “We stayed right there with them for the entire match. Our serve receiving was especially good along with our net play. I think that we played hard and worked for every point and made them work for their points as well.”
Though the Panthers are keeping their heads up, their record will have to improve to qualify for the playoffs. After dropping their last three consecutive home matches, the Panthers will look to regroup this weekend before resuming SCIAC play at home against Redlands on Tuesday. The match will serve as an opportunity for the Panthers to regain control of their season as they are now down to eight remaining games to make a push for the playoffs.
Santos said she is confident in her teammates to turn things around.
“We just need to keep working on our defense and continue to connect with each other on the court. I feel like during this last game we really found our groove and were able to play close to our potential as a unit,” Santos said. “We have to continue to make strides during practice and it’ll show in the [upcoming] games. We’ve improved a lot already from the beginning of the season and I think we can improve even more and get more wins in the second half of conference game.”
Frisina reiterated her confidence in salvaging the Panthers’ season as well.
“There’s no doubt in my mind we will find a spot in the (SCIAC) playoffs,” Frisina said.
The next SCIAC match against Redlands will take place Oct. 14 at 7:30 p.m. in Chapman’s Hutton Athletic Center.