November 27, 2012
SIOUX CITY, Iowa. – In the program’s first-ever playoff match, the Lady Mustangs’ volleyball team made history on Tuesday, but not as they had hoped. After three close sets (22-25, 20-25, 22-25), TMC fell to Cal State San Marcos in the opening round of the pool play portion of the 2012 NAIA National Championships.
Aubrey Bekendam (Orland, CA) and Tori Callihan (Simi Valley, CA) led the Mustangs with nine kills apiece. Jenna Kapuscinski (Sylmar, CA) chipped in a game-high 23 digs, while Alyssa Gergins (Murrieta, CA) led the squad with 21 assists.
Set one established the tone for the evening as the Mustangs and Cougars witnessed 14 ties, and seven lead changes. The turning point of the first set came in the waning moments as both teams were tied at 22-22. Unfortunately, a series of defensive miscues and a hitting error on part of the Mustangs concluded the set in favor of the Cougars.
Statistically, the second set was closer than the first as both teams claimed nine kills each. And while the Mustangs had a .26 attack percentage that surpassed the Cougars .00 hitting percentage, CSU San Marcos still managed to top TMC with a score of 25-20.
TMC looked to stay alive in the third set, but as history tends to repeat itself, the Mustangs fell in yet another close game to the Cougars to the tune of 25-22. The Mustangs had an early lead until the Cougars tied the set at 5-5. It wasn’t until the set was tied at 14 when San Marcos started to become a threat for the Lady Mustangs.
The Cougars maintained a modest two point lead from a well placed kill and costly Mustang attack error, until TMC rallied back with five unanswered points bringing the match to 19-16. But the Lady Mustangs just couldn’t put it away as the Cougars struck back with a 9-3 run, putting the match on ice.
To say that the Lady Mustangs had seen better days would be an understatement as the team finished the night with a 39 total kills and a .186 attack percentage.
Looking to right the ship keep and their national title hopes alive, TMC will return to the court tomorrow at 3:45 PM to take on Viterbo University (La Crosse, Wisconsin). The V-Hawks went 32-7 during their regular season schedule, including a 5-1 record within their conference.