The Master’s University women’s volleyball team sees early, non-conference games as an opportunity to cement its culture.
The Mustangs want to be a team not overly concerned with what’s happening on the other side of the net. They want to focus on what they can control: namely, strong communication, a next-ball mentality and a winning mindset.
Master’s continued to weave those attributes into its fabric during a strong first day at the in Riverside, Calif., on Tuesday. The Mustangs beat the University of Antelope Valley, 3-1 (18-25, 25-13, 25-14, 25-17), in the morning and the University of Saint Katherine, 3-0 (25-13, 25-23, 25-18), later in the day.
Master’s moved to a perfect 6-0 in the process, continuing its best start since 2012. Head coach Allan Vince, though, was more pleased with the fact that he was able to play a large portion of his roster without impacting the team’s performance. And that his squad continued to build a winning mindset.
“We are a relatively young team,” he said, “so to give these girls these experiences early on has really helped. We want to be a winning team, a team that doesn’t expect to lose. Those are the things we want to create in them.”
Along with a forward focus.
“We want to be able to give each other coaching as the game is going on,” Vince said. “We need to come together after every point with a next-ball mentality: ‘Alright, this is what we’re trying to achieve on the next play. Now we’re moving forward with a new goal.’ It allows them to not let the opponent dictate the pace of the match.”
Madi Fay and Jane Cisar tied for the team lead in kills for the day, with 19 apiece. And the Mustangs’ 6-2 system continued to pay dividends, with Kayla Sims ending the day with 42 assists and Sarah Park adding 33.
Sims also recorded seven aces. McKenna Hafner totaled 24 digs for the day, while Mackenzie Delo (pictured above) followed with 20.
Vince expects the Mustangs to be challenged on Wednesday, the final day of the four-game tournament. Master’s will play Aquinas College from Michigan, a team that received votes in the preseason NAIA coaches poll, and then the host La Sierra Golden Eagles.
The Mustangs beat La Sierra 3-1 on Aug. 16.
“Aquinas runs a fast offense and they have some pretty agile and athletic girls,” Vince said. “We’re going to see some competition tomorrow at 8 a.m. That’s going to be a battle we have to win out by being disciplined and consistent.”