With the match seemingly ready to cave in, The Master’s University went out. Off the court, under a stanchion and through the gym doors.
“Coach took us outside to give us a moment and say, step out of the gym, step out of the game right now and just remember who you are and why you’re here,” said Mustang sophomore Rebecca Davis.
The result of the impromptu field trip following Friday’s third set was a breath of fresh air to a season in need of one.
The Mustangs rallied to win sets four and five against Arizona Christian, taking the match 3-2 by scores of 25-23, 21-25, 18-25, 25-21 and 15-10 on Bross Court.
“I think we learned how to finish tonight,” said setter Kayla Sims, whose slick dump kill gave Master’s a 10-9 lead it never relinquished in set five.
Sims finished the night with 47 assists, most of them going to Jane Cisar (14 kills), Morgan Koch (14 kills), Emily Curtin (13) and Madi Fay (12).
Cisar’s powerful swing sealed the opening set. Then the Firestorm counterpunched and Master’s stumbled.
Eight of Jackie Stein’s 16 kills came in the second set for Arizona (9-4 overall, 1-1 in GSAC). The Mustangs attack made more errors than kills in the third frame. It was time to reset.
“We decided to change the scenery,” said Master’s Coach Allan Vince, “to go outside and say, ‘Remember, you’re also a person outside this gym. You make decisions. You prioritize your time. So when you go back in the gym, you need to be reminded of what you’re capable of. You need to trust yourself.”
And get the ball to any one of Cisar, Koch, Curtin or Fay, who took turns peppering the Firestorm defense with heat.
In the fourth set, Fay slammed the ball so hard on one kill that she dropped to a knee.
The Mustangs (4-7, 1-1), though, would bow to no one on this night.
Trailing 7-5 in the final set, a Mustang pass drifted too close to the net.
Sims didn’t panic, instead opting to redirect the ball with one hand back toward Autumn Stevens, who smacked a kill.
A Fay solo block tied the score, and a Cisar ace gave the Mustangs the lead for good.
It was a break in the right direction for a Mustang squad that had dropped three five-set matches this year.
“Sometimes we’re playing two opponents,” Vince said. “We’re playing the person on the other side of the net, and we’re play ourselves because we don’t trust our skill to get us through.”
Not on Friday.
Here’s the box score.