Losses to No. 1 Park and No. 2 Columbia last Friday and Saturday in Missouri were not easy to take, but they may have prepared The Master’s University‘s women’s volleyball team for Friday evening in Arizona.
Buoyed by the play of senior outside hitter Regan Tate and junior transfer Katie Emmerling, the Mustangs swept Arizona Christian 25-19, 25-16, and 29-27 to christen the 2019 Golden State Athletic Conference campaign and take the first step in defending their conference regular-season crown.
“The emphasis of tonight’s match was to step on the court with a clear identity of who Master’s volleyball is going to be in conference this year,” said head coach Allan Vince.
“The girls executed the game plan of winning from the service line, playing solid defense behind a well-formed block, and running combination plays in transition.”
In the first set, the Mustangs spotted the Firestorm the first two points and then reeled off eight in a row to move ahead for good.
The Firestorm never got closer than three points (four times) and senior middle blocker Jane Cisar closed out the win with a kill off an assist from Emmerling.
Emmerling finished with a match-high 35 assists.
The Mustangs used another 8-0 run in the second set to snap a 5-5 tie and went on to win comfortably. Freshman middle blocker Jessi Swenning ignited the burst with a kill and Tate capped it with one of her match-high 14 kills.
In the third and final set, the Mustangs trailed from the opening Firestorm kill until an ACU error produced a 22-all deadlock. Another Firestorm error gave the Mustangs their first lead at 26-25.
After the Firestorm tied the set at 26-all, Tate took over. Her first of three straight kills put the Mustangs ahead 27-26 and after ACU tied it again, she finished off the sweep with consecutive kills.
All three were assisted by Emmerling.
“The ladies stayed together and were resilient to bounce back in tough situations,” said Vince, “and came out victorious as a team tonight. Very proud of this group.”
The Mustangs close out their quick trip to the Valley of the Sun on Saturday when they play at Ottawa University Arizona in Surprise. The first serve goes off at 1 p.m. at Willow Canyon High School.
— Game Recap By Don Gilmore, TMU Assistant Sports Information Director