Coach Bobby Blanken's Lady Mustang volleyball squad enters GSAC conference play Tuesday evening at Biola with a 12-3 record, already surpassing by five last season's win total. Those 12 wins also give the program more wins than in any of the past three seasons.
Master's finished non-conference play over the weekend by traveling to the Seaside Invitational hosted by Point Loma Nazarene. The Lady Mustangs took a 2-0 lead on a Cal State San Marcos squad they had defeated earlier in the year, but ended up falling 3-2. Blanken's team responded though and won three straight to close out the Invitational against Dordt, Texas Wesleyan, and Our Lady of the Lake.
Prior to Seaside, the Lady Mustangs have had success in two other tournaments thus far. The team went 4-1 in its own Master's Melee, defeating Simpson, Corban, Cardinal Stritch, and future GSAC member Arizona Christian. The only setback was to a Great Falls team that went undefeated in the Melee.
Master's opened the season traveling to GSAC rival Azusa Pacific, winning three matches over Northwest, San Marcos, and Eastern Oregon, while coming up short against Concordia (OR.)
Looking toward GSAC play, TMC is prepared for another competitive year. In the latest NAIA rankings there are six GSAC teams in the top 25 which makes the GSAC arguably the nation's toughest conference. Coach Blanken knows that his team will need to come ready for a tough match every time they step on the court. Coach Blanken added that a .500 mark in conference would be a successful season for the Lady Mustangs.
Two players that Blanken has been particularly impressed with are junior outside hitter Jenna Kapuscinski and sophomore outside hitter Samantha Dougherty.
"Jenna (Kapuscinski) played extremely well last week in a match against Occidental College. She chose great attacking lanes throughout the match and made tough plays when the team needed them. Samantha (Dougherty) made a commitment to playing her position and defending in the back row. She showed positive leadership," said Coach Blanken.
The strengths of the Lady Mustangs may be a surprise to some. Coach Blanken says, "It's the way they treat each other, the way they care for each other, and the way they trust each other." All of these things have been developing since the season began and they are characteristics that Coach Blanken has been continually building into his program since coming to TMC last year.
The Lady Mustang's GSAC home opener is this coming Saturday, September 17th against Hope International at 7:00 pm.
You can follow Lady Mustang volleyball and all Master's athletic teams on Twitter at @TMCAthletics.