One could forgive Morgan Koch for forgetting exactly how many points the Mustangs had trailed by in set five Saturday night against San Diego Christian.
The previous two hours, in her defense, had been chock-full of highs and lows and don’t-turn-the-channel-just-yet volleyball.
“I think we were down 5-10,” she said.
Coach Allan Vince intervened: “12-7. I remember it vividly. It’s burned in red in my mind.”
The memory will ultimately be a happy one.
The Mustangs rattled off nine of the next 11 points to win set five and secure a 3-2 win over the Hawks, avoiding total collapse after letting an early two-set lead slip away.
The match, in fact, looked headed for a sweep after Master’s (5-7 overall, 2-1 in Golden State Athletic Conference play) won the first two sets in commanding fashion, 25-10 and 25-12.
Then the Mustangs dropped sets three and four by two points each (25-23, 26-24).
In a team huddle, Master’s tried to regroup.
“We talked about starting fresh, putting the past four game aside and coming out with a new perspective,” Koch said.
San Diego (5-7, 0-3) evidently didn’t like the sound of that. The Hawks went ahead 9-5 and 12-7 before Vince called timeout.
“I said, ‘This is sports, ladies. You can’t train this, can’t train this moment,’” Vince recounted. “‘You have to feel it.’”
The Mustangs were up to the moment.
Koch made a kill. Then Kayla Sims served two aces. By the time a San Diego attacking error put Master’s up 14-13, Bross Court felt like a cauldron of energy.
After a San Diego point, Mustang Emily Curtin blasted a kill off two blockers and out of bounds.
Then Jane Cisar slammed home the match-winner, spilling Mustang teammates off the bench and onto the court.
“There are different sides to the spectrum of emotion,” Vince said. “There’s feeling devastated. There’s frustration. There’s the feeling of, I’m defeated, and then the feeling of elation and joy and excitement and togetherness.”
Master’s had felt it all Friday in a five-set, come-from-behind win over Arizona Christian. Saturday was more of the same.
Cisar finished with a match-high 18 kills. Madi Fay added 14. Sims finished with 44 assists for the Mustangs, who host Antelope Valley on Tuesday.