Over the course of five straight plays, Morgan Koch built a highlight reel worthy of pinning to the top of a Twitter profile.
First, she slammed the ball down the middle of Vanguard’s defense. Nothing but floor.
Then, she rose and blocked one of the GSAC’s most daunting attackers.
Then, with surgical precision, she placed the ball into the back right corner between two lunging Lions.
And finally, after a Vanguard ball-handling error, Koch hit the ball to the opposite corner.
Again, Vanguard could only watch — its one-time 12-point lead down to seven late in Friday’s final set.
“I’d had enough,” Koch said.
Unfortunately, the outburst was one of several bright spots in a home match the Mustangs lost 3-1 by scores of 25-27, 25-21, 25-20 and 25-16.
Sophomore Regan Tate’s aggressive play was another silver lining. She led the Mustangs (8-15, 3-7 GSAC) with a season-high 15 kills.
Madi Fay followed with nine, and Jane Cisar added eight. Kayla Sims recorded 37 assists for Master’s, which won the opening set for the second straight match, further proving the Mustangs can hang with about any team in the GSAC.
The hard part has been hanging on to that momentum. Like Hope International on Thursday, Vanguard stormed back to win the final three sets.The Mustangs’ best chance came in a second frame that was tied 18-18 before the Lions forced Master’s back to arm’s length.
As far as length, Vanguard had plenty of it. At 5-foot-11, Jene Lee entered the night second in the GSAC in blocks per set. At 6-2, Juanae Johnson was third in kills.
“The hardest part was getting there and blocking them,” said Koch, who finished the night with six kills and two solo blocks.
Before Friday, Tate hadn’t tallied more than 10 kills in a match this season. She had 11 before the end of the second set against Vanguard.
“I was getting great opportunities from our setter,” Tate said, “and I was just able to swing hard because of all the support I was getting, both in the game and from the bench.”
Even so, Tate said she’d almost rather watch Koch on the attack.
“She just lights it up,” Tate said.
So, too, did Shay Larson-Piper, at least on Friday. With the Mustangs focused on Johnson, Larson-Piper racked up 20 kills for the Lions.
McKenna Hafner had 13 digs for Master’s, which remains in contention for a top-six finish in the GSAC and a berth in the conference tournament.
Here’s the box score.
The Mustangs play Arizona Christian and San Diego Christian on the road this week before returning to Bross Court for matches against Menlo and William Jessup.