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Today in
S.C.V. History
June 21
1941 - Ernie Hickson buys out Trem Carr's interest in their Monogram movie ranch, renames it "Placeritos" (later called Melody). [story]
Ernie Hickson

Both Nolan Flexen and Matthew Hamm set NAIA championship tournament records leading the Master’s University men’s volleyball team to a five-set thriller over No. 11 seed Indiana Tech in the opening match of the NAIA National Championship Tournament in Des Moines, Iowa on April 11.

Flexen finished with a career-high 35 kills to break the previous mark of 30 kills in an NAIA championship tournament match. Hamm had a career-high 66 assists to shatter the mark for setters.

The No. 3-seeded Mustangs (18-4) won the first two sets 25-18, 26-24 before dropping the next two sets 23-25, 18-25. They won the clincher 15-12.

The win did come at a cost as Middle Blocker Will Avera went down early in the second set with a leg injury. He did not finish the match and is considered day-to-day.

“We were up and down and trying to find a rhythm,” said TMU Head Coach Jared Goldberg. “Obviously, when someone gets hurt it’s tough to turn that around. So we struggled a little bit in the third and fourth sets trying to figure out our rhythm.”

That re-established rhythm was Hamm setting to Flexen.

“Nolan has been pretty dominant all year, so (Indiana Tech was) completely focussing in on him,” Goldberg said. “He was continuing to go high and over their blockers. Their defense was having a very hard time with him, which is understandable and very similar to most other teams we’ve played this year. And Matthew was doing a good job of getting him (those high sets).

The Master’s went on an 8-0 run in the first to go up 10-2 to set the early tone of the match. After winning the set by seven, the teams switched sides and shortly after the second set began is when Avera went down. After he was helped off the floor, the tone had decidedly changed. The Mustangs gutted out the second set 26-24.

The Warriors turned the match around midway through the third set. The Mustangs seemed to be on cruise control to win the match in three with a 16-12 lead, but Indiana Tech went on a 5-0 run to take a 17-16 lead.

That run ignited a fire in the Warriors that had been dormant as they went on to win the third set 25-23 and grab the momentum.

The emotional swing carried into the fourth as the Warriors opened up a 7-2 lead and led by as much as eight in the set. Indiana Tech rode that high while The Master’s struggled, with the Warriors taking the set 25-18 to even the match at 2-2.

That’s when the Flexen/Hamm show took center stage. Flexen started the set with two kills that sent a message that talent trumps emotion. The 6-10 AVCA Player of the Year finished the set with seven kills, including the match winner, with Hamm getting 11 assists for the 15 points.

“Wow were able to take over and finish the fifth (set),” Goldberg said. “We’ve been really good all year in fifth sets.”

As a team, The Master’s finished with 73 kills, also a new tournament record for a team, and a hitting percentage of .440. The team had seven aces compared to the Warriors five, but Indiana Tech produced 10 blocks vs. seven for TMU.

Braden Van Groningen finished with 13 kills and Isaac Seltzer had 10.

TMU’s win not only marked the first for the program in its first ever national tournament appearance, but it was also the first time in the last four years the No. 3 seed prevailed over the No. 11 in this tournament. The previous three years this opening match was an upset.

The Master’s will face fellow GSAC competitor Menlo, the No. 6 seed in the tournament, on Thursday at 10 a.m. CT, 8 a.m. PT. If the Mustangs win that match they will move on to Friday’s semi-final.

For more information visit TMU Sports.

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Thursday, Jun 20, 2024
Katherine Dyer has signed her national letter of intent to continue her swimming career at The Master's University.
Thursday, Jun 20, 2024
California State University, Northridge's Trey Knight, Chase Mars and David Phillips, Jr. will compete at the 2024 United States Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore. beginning June 27.
Monday, Jun 17, 2024
Manny Herrera has signed his National Letter of Intent to continue his baseball career at The Master's University.
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Dave Caldwell, the play-by-play voice of The Master's University athletic department for more than a decade and the school's sports information director for the last two, earned a significant distinction this month.

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