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College volleyball: TMC back on its horse

Mustangs respond after first conference loss

Posted: September 19, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: September 19, 2012 1:55 a.m.

The Master's College's Alyssa Gergins, back, sets for Tori Callihan, foreground, as they face Hope International at TMC on Tuesday.

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As good as the start of the season has been for The Master’s College women’s volleyball, the second half of the season is really what’s going to be where the team will have to separate itself.

Coming off just its second loss of the season last week, TMC rebounded nicely with a 3-0 win over Hope International by scores of 25-20, 25-15, 25-16 on Tuesday night at Bross Gym.

It was TMC’s first Golden State Athletic Conference win of the season after its 3-0 loss to nationally ranked Biola on Saturday.

“Where we’ve started to where we are now, we’ve seen a tremendous amount of improvement, but we’re still not where we want to be at the end of the year,” said TMC head coach Bobby Blanken.

The Mustangs (14-2 overall, 1-1 GSAC) are ranked 13th in the latest National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics poll, which was released prior to the loss to No. 4 Biola.

It was a much different story against struggling Hope (2-8, 0-2) on Tuesday.

The Mustangs went in front early in the first two sets and managed to separate as the night wore on.

Sam Dougherty led TMC with 15 kills and also added a match-high 13 digs.

Ashley Newton came alive late and tallied five of her nine kills in the third set. She finished with an efficient .500 hitting percentage.

“A lot of it was our communication,” said senior Tori Callihan. “There was lots of good passing and they were connecting well with our hitters.”

The Royals had their best run early in the third set when they jumped in front 3-1, but the Mustangs came straight back with a 6-0 run to take the lead for good.

“When it comes to playing teams like Hope, it’s a about limiting unforced errors,” Blanked said.

TMC setter Alyssa Gergins made 32 assists while Hope International was led offensively by Summer Mitchell’s eight kills.

In volleyball, TMC has never won a conference title, nor has the team appeared in an NAIA National Tournament.

So far, it’s been one of the team’s most promising starts in history after coming off its first-ever 20-win season last year.

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