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College volleyball: TMC conquered

Mustangs fall to NAIA No. 3 Concordia

Posted: October 5, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: October 5, 2011 1:55 a.m.

The Master’s College’s Victoria Callihan blocks a shot on Tuesday at Bross Gym.

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The Master’s College women’s volleyball team showed life late against NAIA No. 3 ranked Concordia College, coming out of the locker room after dropping the first two sets to hand the Eagles their largest single set loss of the season.

Unfortunately for the Mustangs, their comeback attempt was too little, too late as they fell 3-1 to the Eagles on Tuesday night at Bross Gym.

The Mustangs, who finished last season just 7-22, have shown improvement so far this season under head coach Bobby Blanken, opening up the season with a 15-6 record, including a five-set loss that saw them push No. 6 Fresno Pacific to five sets on Sept. 27.

“I told (the team) we are nothing like what we were,” Blanken said. “And we’re nothing like what we will be.”

On Tuesday, though, while that improvement continued to show against the Eagles, it wasn’t enough to pull out the victory.

Early on it looked as though Concordia would have no trouble with the Mustangs, as the Eagles jumped out to a 20-14 lead due in large part to the Mustangs’ inability to string multiple-point runs together.

But TMC continued to show life, battling back to within three points at 22-19.

Concordia, though, responded to every momentum-turning point Master’s put on the board and a costly service error by TMC gave the Eagles a 24-20 lead late in the set.

Two points later, TMC’s Rachel Taylor had her shot blocked by Concordia’s Briana Hughes for the early 1-0 Concordia set lead.

Master’s held its own in the second set, keeping pace point for point with the Eagles before the two teams ended up tied at 23-23.

And then the Eagles’ Brooke Marino took over, knocking the ball down for the 24-23 lead after teammate Fei Gao kept play alive with a pivotal dig.

Marino served an ace for the game-winning point on the next serve to give the Eagles the 2-0 lead.

She would go on to lead the Eagles in kills with 15, while freshman Reanna Schelhass added nine.

Kara Vincitorio led Concordia with eight digs.

Coming out of the locker room for the third set, though, Master’s showed life, jumping on Concordia quickly to go up 14-5 and never relinquishing its lead en route to a 24-13 third set victory.

“I’m still trying to figure out exactly what happened,” said Concordia head coach Dan Fisher. “I think it was due in part to an early lead (for TMC).”

Victoria Callihan and Samantha Dougherty led the Mustangs with 12 kills, while Dougherty, Jamie Long and Rebecca Gieske tied for the team lead in digs with nine.

TMC tried to keep its momentum going in the fourth set, again battling point for point with the Eagles to tie the match at 18 points apiece.

The Eagles responded, though, going on a four-point run and three two-point runs to win the fourth set 25-21 and take the match.

Despite the loss, the Mustangs found positive lessons for the team as they prepare to face their third straight top 10 opponent in No. 9 Azusa Pacific on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Bross Gym.

“Everyday we talk about being two or three points better each game, we’re not trying to be a David and Goliath story,” Blanken said. “I think we’re doing a good job with the resources we have.”

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