Nov 16, 2013 9:37 PM by Greg Smith
ATLANTA - Emily Philips pounded down 15 kills and added 15 digs on Saturday, as Colorado College advanced to Sunday's NCAA Division III regional championship match with a dramatic 3-1 (25-21, 31-29, 21-25, 25-23) victory over Claremont Mudd Scripps Colleges in Atlanta, Ga.
It was the second consecutive double-double, and 11th of the season, for the sophomore outside hitter from The Woodlands, Texas.
CC will meet host and top-seeded Emory University, 32-4, which took a 3-1 decision from Berry College in the other semifinal, on Sunday for the right to advance to the national Elite 8.
Phillips got plenty of help from her teammates, as Lauren Hahn and Courtney Birkett - also sophomores - chipped in with 13 and 10 kills, respectively. It was Hahn who ended the match, hammering down her last of 39 attempts for the day to end Claremont's season.
"We left it all on the court today," said Phillips. "We had great energy."
The Tigers improved to 35-4 overall for the season, moving into a tie with the 1983 and 2009 Colorado College teams for the second most victories in the program's history.
Freshman setter Rebecca Watson finished with 45 assists in Saturday's triumph. Junior Kristen Liberty, who led both teams with a .500 attack percentage, and freshman Keli Sherwood added eight kills apiece. Sherwood also had a hand in five blocks.
"The second set was a slugfest," said Liberty. "Claremont had set point a couple of times, but we hung in there and played each point hard."
Sophomore libero Sophie Merrifield paced CC defensively with 25 digs, while junior Julia Lawton had 17 and Birkett 10.
"Claremont has a great team and has had a great year," head coach Rick Swan said. "We were in for a battle for each and every point. They are a lot like us. We had a balanced attack today."
In the first set Claremont went on an early five-point run to take a 10-6 lead. But the Tigers chipped away and took the lead for good at 16-15.
The lead see-sawed back and forth in the marathon second set, with Birkett's service ace off the tape ending it to put Colorado College up 2-0.
In the third set the two teams again traded leads before the Athenas reeled off four straight points to take a 14-11 lead and were able to maintain the advantage the rest of the way before prevailing 25-21.
The momentum was short-lived, however, as CC jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead and led 19-14 before holding off a furious Athena rally to win the fourth and deciding set.