September 25, 2012
SANTA CLARITA, Calif. – Coach Bobby Blanken and his No. 13 Lady Mustangs (16-2, 3-1 GSAC) had one thing on their minds going into Tuesday night’s showdown against conference rival and fifth-ranked Westmont (17-3, 2-2 GSAC): Survival.
“We’ve been working on what we call ‘Surviving the Rally’,” commented Coach Blanken. “We know there are a lot of attempts that are going to happen throughout the course of a game and we need to make sure we do a great job of keeping the ball alive and knowing the right time to score.”
Blanken’s survival plan had its flaws in game one as the Mustangs succumbed to the Warriors 25-19. Westmont went on an early 8-2 run to turn an 8-8 match into a 16-10 lead. Westmont's Tessa Martin and Ciara Turner, who each had five kills in the set, led the Warriors' attack.
Down, but not out, TMC’s survival instincts kicked in during the evening’s second set. Game two saw the Mustangs pull ahead 18-11 before Westmont rallied and tied the match at 19-all. However, the Warriors were unable to move past the Mustangs and fell to Blanken’s red-hot squad on the second set-point.
Set three belonged to the Mustangs, as TMC took the Warriors 25-15. The Lady Mustangs collectively tallied 16 kills, three errors, and hit at a .325 rate. Of those 16 kills, six came from TMC’s Sam Dougherty who notched 29 overall and secured a hitting percentage of .339.
In the fourth and final set, TMC made quick work of the NAIA’s No.5 squad and took the match with a 25-16 victory. The Lady Mustangs capitalized off a plethora of Westmont errors and held the opposition to a .133 hitting percentage. Offensively, the Lady Mustangs claimed 14 kills and hit an evening-high .346.
“I was extremely impressed with all of the girls and how they maintained their composure in situations that got really tight. Game two got really close and I’m very proud of the girls and how they kept their poise throughout the match.”
The Mustangs will hit the road and continue their 2012 campaign on Friday night when they travel to Prescott, Arizona, to take on the Eagles of Embry Riddle in their first non-conference match since September 8. First serve is scheduled for 6:00 PM (MT).
The last time TMC beat the Warriors was over a year ago on September 20, 2011. The Mustangs took the match in four sets with an identical score of 3-1.