Led by Jane Cisar, the Master’s volleyball team rolled to a 3-0 win over the University of Saint Katherine by scores of 25-12, 25-15 and 25-9, sending the Mustangs into Saturday’s showdown at No. 23 Westmont on a four-match winning streak.
The logic was straightforward.
Master’s coach Allan Vince said that if the Mustangs expected to find success inside a gym packed with energetic fans opposed to TMU’s success on Saturday, then the Mustangs had better take care of business within the favorable confines of The MacArthur Center on Tuesday.
That wasn’t a problem.
“No matter what the situation, we have to play everyone like a top contender,” Vince said. “Then that doesn’t blow anyone up in our mind. We’re just trying to normalize our opponent wherever we’re at. Normalize it by playing great and consistent at all times.”
Cisar led the Mustangs (7-5) with 10 kills on 15 chances, and Katie Emmerling recorded 24 assists in her first match after learning she’d won a conference award.
Emmerling was named Golden State Athletic Conference Setter of the Week on Monday. The honor came as a surprise – at least to Emmerling.
“I was kind of shocked. I was not expecting that at all. It was a nice surprise,” said Emmerling, who connected regularly with Cisar on Tuesday, setting up the senior middle blocker for kills from a variety of spots along the net.
For Cisar, it was the third time she’s reached double-digit kills this season and the second time she’s hit better than .600. She credited Emmerling and the team’s defense on a night Master’s rolled to its fourth straight sweep.
“Our defense did a really good job of giving us good passes so we were able to run the middle,” said Cisar, who added five total blocks, “and Katie did a phenomenal job of pushing me out on the sides. … It really worked tonight. We connected.”
Regan Tate finished with eight kills and just one error in 15 tries. And McKenna Hafner led the way with seven digs for the Mustangs, who will travel to Santa Barbara on Saturday to take on Westmont College. The match represents TMU’s fourth meeting with a ranked opponent this season and its biggest test in GSAC play to date.
Vince knows Westmont, a perennial GSAC title contender, will be ready for an opportunity to take down a Master’s team that won the conference’s regular-season and tournament titles for the first time a year ago. The Mustangs went 2-1 against the Warriors, the highpoint coming with a victory in the GSAC tournament title game.
“We’re expecting a rowdy crowd. We’re expecting a fueled defense,” said Vince, whose team is 1-2 against ranked opponents this season and 2-0 in GSAC play, both sweeps. “… They definitely remember the last time they played us, and any time we go up there we’re expecting a battle.
“We can’t be shocked when we see good things happen on their side of the net. That’s where we have to be consistent.”
— Game Recap By Mason Nesbitt, TMU Sports Information Director