SIOUX CITY, Iowa -- Even before The Master's hit the court early Thursday evening, everything that needed to go right for them, did. The Master's then navigated a 4-set match, and two tiebreakers, as they won five consecutive sets on Thursday night.
No. 20 Cal State San Marcos was beaten by No. 21 Viterbo in five sets, setting up a potential 3-way tie. The Master's then forced the 3-way split as the No. 6 Lady Mustangs topped the No. 7 Indiana Wesleyan Wildcats 3-1 (16-25, 25-20, 25-22, 25-22) at 10:08 PM (CST).
Samantha Dougherty (Madera, CA) led The Master's with 14 kills and picked up 13 digs for a double-double. Jenna Kapuscinski (Sylmar, CA) notched 24 digs, while Alyssa Gergins (Murrieta, CA) continued her consistent play by chipping in 23 assists.
With little time to celebrate, the Lady Mustangs had next-to-no time to prepare for their first single-set tiebreaker against Cal State University San Marcos. On Tuesday, in the first round of pool play, the Cougars had routed the Mustangs in three sets. However, The Master's had the last hurrah as the Lady Mustangs eliminated Cal State San Marcos from the tournament with a 25-11 victory in the first tiebreaker. The match ended at 11:19 PM (CST)
Shortly after, the Lady Mustangs faced Indiana Wesleyan University for the second time of the evening. The Master's took Indiana Wesleyan in the second tiebreaker 25-18, giving the Mustangs the green-light to advance to the single elimination bracket of the 2012 NAIA National Championships. The final set ended at 12:03 PM (CST).
There had only been tiebreakers three other times in NAIA National Championship history: 2002, 2003, and 2007. Those were just tiebreakers in one pool. Never had two pools needed tiebreakers at the same time...until now. Hastings (Neb.) also advanced after winning tie-breakers against Bellevue (Neb.) and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical (Fla.).
"Whenever you think you have something figured out, something comes along that you haven't seen before," commented Mustang coach Bobby Blanken. "You just have to be humble, obedient, and do the right thing. Our girls knew we had to play better than we had in the two previous matches. We played our best when it really mattered, and I couldn't be more proud with the way that we finished. "
The Mustang coaching staff will have an even later night tonight, as the squad now prepares for No.10 Oklahoma Baptist.
The Oklahoma Baptist Bisons went 32-4 in their 2012 campaign, and most recently went 2-1 in their assigned playoff pool.
First serve is set for Friday, November 30, at 10:30 AM (PST).
*NeuLion, the NAIA's official video-streaming company of 12 select NAIA national championship events, will be broadcasting, on line, all single elimination matches of the 2012 Volleyball National Championship. The single-elimination matches' start at 10 a.m. CST on Nov. 30 will be streamed and coverage will continue through the championship match on 8 p.m. CST on Dec. 1. Click here for more information.