THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — For the second time in three days, the Occidental College women's volleyball team beat Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, but this time with a berth in the conference tournament championship at stake.
After defeating the Athenas (19-10) in four sets on Tuesday, the Tigers (20-8) swept CMS 25-20, 25-20, 25-17 on Thursday, advancing to Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship to play at Cal Lutheran University on Saturday.
Oxy and CMS split the regular season series, with each winning at the opposing team's home court, but Oxy was able to take the momentum it generated after winning the most recent match, into Gilbert Arena.
A little less than 48 hours ago, the Tigers trailed in Game 3 24-16 at CMS, then went on a 10-0 taking the next three sets and the match.
Whatever hit them to spark that impressive run on Tuesday carried over to Thousand Oaks.
"It was really nice because we were coming into the match 1-1 with them an having just played them the other night, I think the girls were really focused and really concentrated on what we needed to do to better ourselves, from the other night, and to capitalize on the things we did well," Occidental coach Heather Collins said. "Even though they were a little timid in the first game coming out, then they got strong, served really well and pushed CMS off of the net."
It wasn't just the momentum carrying over that may have given Oxy an edge. The Tigers were 4-1 and CMS was just 5-5 at Cal Lutheran this season headed into the match — both teams played in the Posada Royale Invitational hosted by Cal Lu earlier this season.
Kasey Rose (Los Olivos, CA) continued her hot streak attacking. The junior outside hitter had 11 kills, leading the Tigers for the second consecutive game.
"Kasey was real aggressive tonight," Collins said. "She did a really good job, when we were out of system, of taking the ball over her shoulder from the setter and swinging away."
It was only fitting that Rose, who was also effective passing and blocking, had two service aces to finish off the Athenas in Game 3.
"It's always hard after you beat someone and have to play them right after," said Rose, who had four assists and three block assists. "You have this preconceived notion that you already beat the them. ... It was just great that we were able to come in, stay up and get the win."
Regina Mullen (Menlo Park, CA) and Emily Hudson (South Pasadena, CA) had 10 kills to lead the Athenas.
Oxy has now won seven out of their last eight heading into the conference championship against Cal Lu at 6 p.m. on Saturday.
"It's nice to get this far, but this has been our goal all along," Collins said. "It's important that now that we're here, we stay focused and finish the job."