Coach Allan Vince’s first season at the helm of The Master’s College came to an end after the Mustangs (19-12, 9-7) fell to co-GSAC champion Biola (28-4, 15-1) Saturday evening 3-1.
Despite falling behind two sets to none, the Mustangs took set three, only to fall in set four for the loss.
Ashley Kuhlman (Henderson, NV) took the wheel offensively and led the way with 28 total attacks while Aubrey Pyburn (Burbank, CA) posted 25 and Allison Child (Shingle Springs, CA) notched 24.
Biola took the first two sets 25-15 and 25-20, respectively, while the Mustangs refused to quit.
In set three the Mustang home crowd came to life knowing that there was nothing left to lose.
The Mustangs took the lead off the first serve of the set due to an Eagle error. Shaking it off, the Eagles responded with a kill to tie up the score 1-1. The next play resulted in another Eagle error to propel the Mustangs on top once again. While the beginning of the set was tight, it contained only three lead changes. Child took the initiative to lead the Mustangs, smashing eight kills in the set, including the winning kill to close out a 25-19 win.
While TMC had done a fantastic job of taking advantage of opponents’ errors all season, the Mustangs committed 12 uncharacteristic errors in the fourth set to give the advantage to the Eagles. With match point in hand by the Eagles, the Mustangs refused to back down. With the score 24-20, Kuhlman stepped up and drilled a kill and then the Eagles had an error of the own to make the score 24-22. In a bit of a panic, Biola called a timeout to try and slow the roll of the surging Mustang squad.
On the next ball, the timeout proved to be beneficial as the Eagles poised themselves and won the set 25-22 off a Mustang error.
With a young squad, the Mustangs finished with an overall season record of 19-12 and 9-7 in GSAC play.
The win for the Eagles granted them the title of co-conference champions with Concordia, while the Mustangs fell just short of reaching the 20-win plateau for the third consecutive season.