Even before The Master’s College women’s volleyball team hit the court early Thursday evening in Sioux City, Iowa, everything that needed to go right for it did.
No. 20 Cal State San Marcos was beaten by No. 21 Viterbo (WI) in five sets, setting up a potential three-way tie. TMC then forced the three-way split as the No. 6 Lady Mustangs topped the No. 7 Indiana Wesleyan Wildcats 3-1 (16-25, 25-20, 25-22, 25-22) at 10:08 PM (CST).
Samantha Dougherty (Madera, CA) led TMC with 14 kills and picked up 13 digs for a double-double. Jenna Kapuscinski (Sylmar, CA) notched 24 digs, while Alyssa Gergins (Murrieta, CA) continued her consistent play by chipping in 23 assists.
With little time to celebrate, the Lady Mustangs had next-to-no time to prepare for their first tiebreaker against Cal State San Marcos. On Tuesday, in the first round of pool play, the Cougars had routed the Mustangs in three sets. However, TMC had the last laugh on Thursday evening as the Lady Mustangs eliminated the Cougars from the tournament with a 25-11 victory in the first tiebreaker. The match ended at 11:19 PM (CST)
Shortly thereafter, the Lady Mustangs faced Indiana Wesleyan for the second time in less than four hours. TMC took the Wildcats in the second tiebreaker 25-18, giving the Mustangs the green light to advance to the single-elimination bracket of the 2012 NAIA National Championships. The final set ended at 12:03 PM (CST).
“Whenever you think you have something figured out, something comes along that you haven’t seen before,” commented Mustang coach Bobby Blanken. “You just have to be humble, obedient, and do the right thing. Our girls knew we had to play better than we had in the two previous matches. We played our best when it really mattered, and I couldn’t be more proud with the way that we finished. “
The Mustang coaching staff will have an even later night tonight as the squad now prepares for No.10 Oklahoma Baptist.
The Bison went 32-4 in the 2012 campaign and most recently went 2-1 in their assigned playoff pool.
First serve is set for Friday, November 30, at 10:30 AM (PST).
There have only been tiebreakers three other times in NAIA National Championship history: 2002, 2003, and 2007. Those were just tiebreakers in one pool. Never had two pools needed tiebreakers at the same time…until now.