Santa Clarita, Calif. – If you stopped by Bross Gym at the end of Tuesday night’s GSAC Volleyball showdown featuring The Master’s College (25-5, 9-4 GSAC) and Concordia University (29-0, 12-0 GSAC), you wouldn’t have had the slightest clue that the Lady Mustangs had just fallen short of upsetting the Eagles, the nations #1 volleyball program, by three points. What you would have seen, however, would be remnants of the 400+ Mustang fans celebrating and applauding the #7 ranked Lady Mustangs for their efforts in what was arguably the most thrilling match TMC competed in this season.
Concordia, sporting their traditional forest green uniforms, opened up the first set with haste, leading the way with a score of 4-1. However, the Mustangs regained their composure and fought back to a 4-4 tie. From there, the two squads traded eight leads bringing the match to 21-21. The Eagles then capitalized on a mix of attack errors by the Mustangs and well-placed kills to conclude the set at 25-22.
Dropping the first set didn’t faze TMC in the slightest as the Mustangs controlled game two for the entirety. The Lady Mustangs led the Eagles, by six points, five separate times. The blue & gold clad Mustangs then put the set on ice at 25-18 with a decisive kill by senior outside hitter Rachel Taylor (Sun Valley, CA). In her final regular-season home game as a Mustang, Taylor claimed 11 kills, the second highest for the Mustangs for the evening.
Set three carried a different tune as the Mustangs only managed to tie the Eagles early at 4-4. From there, Concordia took ran off with the set and never looked back, ultimately finishing game three at 25-14.
But TMC wasn’t giving up.
Fueled by the outstanding support from the Master’s College student body, the Mustangs started the fourth set with a four-point rally. But the Eagles soared back into action and eventually tied the match at 9-9. The Mustangs went on a five point run extending their lead to 15-10. But Concordia slowly inched their way back into the match and tied the Mustangs at 20-20.
The waning minutes of the fourth set proved to be something of the likes of a boxing match as both sides exchanged blows. At five different points, both sides were forced to break ties, However, a kill by Rachel Taylor and an attack error by Concordia’s Maddy Ekis finished the set at 29-27, in favor of the Mustangs, sending both teams into a fifth and final set.
In the thrilling fifth game, the Mustangs fell to the Eagles 12-15. The Eagles carried the lead throughout the set while the Mustangs rallied in spurts. However, Concordia proved their #1 ranking and maintained their lead until the final whistle. After an attack error by TMC’s Rachel Taylor sealed the match for the Eagles, not one Mustang hung their head with disappointment. On the contrary, all supporters gave the Mustangs a standing ovation for the effort the squad displayed over the five game dog-fight.
Knowing that they can hang in with the best, the Lady Mustangs look to finish off their regular season schedule with a win against conference rival San Diego Christian (5-18, 3-10 GSAC). The Mustangs cannot look past the Hawks as Saturday’s 7:00 PM road match carries major playoff implications on when or where the Mustangs’ first round playoff match will be played.