SANTA CLARITA, Calif. – In their third Golden State Athletic Conference match, The Master's College volleyball team was tasked to top 17th-ranked Vanguard Lions.
At the end of five strenuous sets, The Master's, who ranks No. 21 on the most recent NAIA Top 25 Poll, bested Vanguard 3-2, raising its overall record 12-3 (2-1 GSAC).
"Hats off to Vanguard," commented head coach Bobby Blanken. "They did a great job tonight. They've improved since the first part of the season, and it was nice to see two well-balanced teams competing."
Setting the tone for the night, set one was a battle as the score was brought to a tie on five separate occasions (1-1, 3-3, 6-6, 9-9, 10-10). A Vanguard attack error put The Master's up 11-10, and propelled the Lady Mustangs to cruise to a 25-15 set one victory.
The Master's dropped the next two matches in nail biting fashion (20-25, 28-26), forcing the Lady Mustangs to fight an intimidating 2-1 deficit.
Besides a handful of early tie scores (1-1, 2-2, 3-3), the Lady Mustangs entered the fourth set unfazed. The Master's controlled the set after breaking the 3-3 tie score, and posted a final score of 25-17. With the set win, the Lady Mustangs evaded their first home loss of the year.
In the fifth frame, The Master's broke a daunting 6-6 tie mark and posted a 9-3 run, ultimately bringing the final score to 15-9, and icing the match at 3-2.
"The girls played phenomenally well," further assessed Blanken. "They responded well to errors and missed calls."
Sam Dougherty (Madera, CA), led all scorers with 27 kills, while Aubery Bekendam (Orland, CA) notched 37 assists. For digs, Rebecca Peluffo (La Crescenta, CA) tallied 19, while Bekendam followed with 14, and Dougherty with 12.
Olivia Gwinn (Santa Clarita, CA), who posted 3 digs, made an impact on Blanken, causing the fourth-year head coach to assess the junior's efforts by saying "Olivia [Gwinn] had 21 opportunities to serve and did a phenomenal job of keeping Vanguard out of their system. Her hard work is really paying off."