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TMC teams are approaching their goals

Nationally ranked men’s soccer team leads conference

Posted: October 25, 2009 10:56 p.m.
Updated: October 26, 2009 4:55 a.m.

The Master's College freshman goalkeeper Kayla Jones dives to her left to make a save during the Mustangs' practice Thursday afternoon at TMC.

 
As fall athletics begin to wind down at The Master’s College, many of the school’s programs are beginning to realize preseason goals.

But with men’s and women’s soccer on the verge of postseason play and the cross country programs fielding some of the top young talent in the Golden State Athletic Conference, there is still much left to be decided.

The men’s soccer team is currently ranked No. 22 in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, while the women’s program sits just outside of the top 25 having received votes. Both are currently ranked third in the National Christian College Athletic Association rankings.

The men hold a slim lead in the GSAC over Azusa Pacific, which the Mustangs beat 3-1 on Oct. 14 at Reese Field.

On Saturday, Marcelo Silva’s game-winning header in overtime lifted the Mustangs (12-2-1, 7-1) over NAIA No. 18 Concordia 1-0 in a game that head coach Jim Rickard said would lay the groundwork for the rest of the season.

“This game will dictate what our goals are,” he said prior to the match.

With the win, those goals remain the same from the beginning of the season: win the GSAC, receive a No. 1 seed going into the conference tournament and advance to the NAIA tournament.

Joel Peluffo leads the team with 12 goals. The sophomore midfielder registered back-to-back hat tricks on Sept. 26 and Sept. 30 against Point Loma Nazarene and Fresno Pacific, earning him consecutive GSAC Player of the Week honors.

“I’ve been telling people that this year was going to be his breakout year,” Rickard said.

Jacob Marchesani has also come on strong offensively with seven goals and 11 assists.

Senior goalkeeper Kevin Lawson, aided by a stingy defense, has been nearly untouchable with a goals against average of 0.57 over 15 games. During that time, he has registered nine shutouts.

The women’s team is also coming off a strong win, beating NAIA No. 14 Concordia 1-0 on Saturday at Concordia for the first time in the program’s history thanks to an early goal by Canyon High graduate Sierra Goff.

The women started the season out strong, going 8-0-1 through their conference opener.

Since, the Mustangs (11-4-1, 4-4) lost four of six games, dropping from No. 1 in the NCCAA to No. 3 and seventh in the GSAC prior to Saturday’s win.

“We are definitely in the playoff hunt,” said head coach Curtis Lewis. “We probably won’t get a home game, but we have played well on the road.”

In fact, the Mustangs are 7-1 on the road, with the lone loss coming to current NAIA No. 5 Vanguard in Costa Mesa.

Emily Bruton has eight goals and three assists on the season, while Robyn Estrada has also netted eight goals with two assists.

Lewis said Estrada has yet to play a full game all season, but the result has been beneficial as other players step up.

“We are really having to teach our other players that they have to score,” he said. “Girls are coming up big and getting the job done.”

Goalkeeper Amanda Durocher has been battling a pulled quadricep all season, but has still managed to post five shutouts with a 0.87 goals against average, and she earned GSAC Player of the Week on Sept. 28.

Both soccer teams have two games remaining before the beginning of the GSAC Tournament on Nov. 3 for the women and Nov. 4 for the men.

Meanwhile, the women’s volleyball team looks to be headed in the opposite direction, having lost 12 consecutive conference matches.

The Mustangs’ last win was 3-0 victory over San Diego Christian on Sept. 9.

What started as a 9-3 overall record has since become 9-15 and 1-13 with six matches remaining.

Hart High graduate and College of the Canyons transfer Caitlyn Ramirez leads the team with 243 kills, while Sarah Oskam has 212 kills and 201 digs.

Emily Gray has racked up 521 assists, Leslie Windham has 312 digs and Tanya Bekendam has 262 digs.

In the realm of cross country, the Mustangs’ men’s and women’s teams have gained ground in their aim to create a top-flight program.

Despite the season-ending injury to team leader Jeff Jackson, Canyon graduate Anthony Pizzo and Saugus native John Gilbertson have taken it upon themselves to make sure the men’s team succeeds.

“We have a lot of kids with big dreams and the work ethic for success,” said head coach Zach Schroeder.

Aside from Pizzo and Gilbertson, those “kids” are Ryan Lambert, Nathan Seyler, Zach Nave and Saugus graduate Camden McAlister, whom Schroeder said are key for the Mustangs at the No. 4, 5 and 6 positions.

Most recently, Pizzo finished fifth overall and second among GSAC runners on Saturday at the Biola Invitational with a time of 25 minutes, 27 seconds, out-legging Vanguard’s Christian De Glymes, a top competitor in the conference.

Currently ranked No. 6 in the GSAC, the men’s team must contend with the likes of Westmont, Vanguard, Azusa Pacific, Biola and California Baptist.

On the women’s side, improvement has been the moniker for the team of five.

“We are a work in progress,” Schroeder said.

Sophomore Brooke Vincent led the way for the Mustangs at the Vanguard Invitational on Oct. 10 with a school-record time for the course of 19 minutes, 45 seconds.

Four of the Mustangs’ five runners are underclassmen — three freshmen and one sophomore.

Schroeder said his runners are taking 30 to 40 seconds off their times with each event, and with that continued improvement, the Nov. 7 GSAC Conference Championships at Woodward Park in Fresno “could be a marked turning point for the program.”

The NAIA National Championships will be held on Nov. 21 in Vancouver, Wash.

Men’s golf saw its first action of the year on Oct. 12 in the NCCAA Championship in Panama City, Fla.

The Mustangs finished ninth overall with a three-round team score of 75-over par, led by junior Jordan Andrews, who was tied for 30th overall with a 16-over performance.

Andrews was followed by junior Kevin Anderson and freshman Michael Reitz, both of whom tied for 40th. Freshman John Lawson finished 49th and freshman Joe Green was 65th.

Dallas Baptist finished first overall with a team score of 16-over.

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