The Master’s University’s stay at the Hope Summer Slam in Fullerton, which concluded with a sweep of Wayland Baptist University on Thursday evening (25-19, 25-16, 25-19), wasn’t short on promising performances.
There was Jane Cisar, of course, who seamlessly moved to middle blocker and recorded a team-best 37 kills on a .348 hitting percentage. There was libero McKenna Hafner, who covered large swaths of hardwood to keep the ball off the floor and lift Master’s (4-0) to its best start since 2012.
Thursday, there was Madi Fay (pictured).
The fiery, athletic sophomore showed restraint against a defensive-minded Wayland team, electing to tip rather than swing her way to a team-high nine kills. She did it with only two errors on 25 attempts.
Fay finished 2017 with 177 kills, third most on the team. But her hitting percentage left room for improvement.
Through four matches in 2018, she’s shown a more refined approach to making opposing defenses pay. Twice she’s come up with nine kills while hitting around .280 in both matches.
“The temptation is to go all hard or go home,” said coach Allan Vince. “And now she’s seen that she can score with finesse, tip in the right spot. After swinging on two balls, she can tip and everyone will be back on their heels. She’s opening up her range and seeing things better. It’s excellent.”
Wayland entered the match at 0-3 in the two-day tournament, but the Mustangs did little to put their opponent away early.
TMU’s first lead in set one didn’t come until 16-15. Then back-to-back kills for Regan Tate and an ace from Hafner created some space. Wayland never came closer than three points the rest of the way.
Master’s closed the second set on a 14-2 run to take control of a back-and-forth frame. Like she did in a win over La Sierra University earlier in the day, senior Kayla Sims got the Mustangs rolling from the service line in the final set.
Sims knocked in two aces this time and helped Master’s run out to a 6-1 lead. Wayland briefly rebounded for a 9-7 advantage, but the Mustangs took the lead for good three points later. As far as sets, TMU finished the week 12-1.
“It’s definitely easier going into this season because we don’t have to build that connection this time,” Fay said. “We’ve all already been there. Instead of playing with girls you’re trying to get to know, you’re playing with all your friends.”
Sarah Park finished with 16 assists for TMU, which will next play in a tournament hosted by La Sierra in Riverside on Aug. 21 and 22. Hafner led the defense with 17 digs.