Mustangs test nation's No. 5

September 9, 2017

Box score

 Kayla Sims said The Master’s University women’s volleyball team played with nothing to lose.

Westmont entered the night seemingly having forgotten how to lose.

And, sometime in the third set, the Warriors told their maroon road jerseys to get lost.

It all made for an entertaining and competitive Golden State Athletic Conference opener in front of a rarely quiet Master’s crowd Saturday night. 

The Mustangs, coming off two gut-wrenching losses, pushed the NAIA’s fifth-ranked team to four, and almost five, sets — falling 3-1 by scores of 25-12, 21-25, 25-21 and 26-24.

The Mustangs’ win in set two snapped Westmont’s 26 set winning streak. 

“We came in knowing we had nothing to lose and that this is our court,” said Sims, who finished with 26 assists. “We just needed to play and have fun.”

That fun came at Westmont’s expense in set two.

Sims served for five straight points to open the frame, and Jane Cisar sprinkled in a couple kills to put the Mustangs up 8-3. Westmont responded and took a 15-14 lead, but Master’s came back 16-15 and never trailed again.

The crowd was loud. Cisar clenched her fists. Sims threw her arms in the air.

It was an undeniable break from the last two matches when Master’s lost in five sets to both La Sierra and the University of Antelope Valley. 

Saturday, anyone not paying attention might have thought Master’s had two visitors.

After the Mustangs rushed out to a 10-3 lead in set three, Westmont called timeout. Warrior players then frantically switched from their maroon uniforms into white jerseys, ostensibly pressing the reset button.

From there, Westmont and its fresh wardrobe looked more like the fifth ranked team in the country. But the Mustangs never made it easy.

Even after Master’s fell behind 22-18 in set four, it rallied to tie the score 23-23 and 24-24 before Westmont’s Cassidy Rea rattled off two straight kills to end the match. 

“(In the fourth set) we’re like, ‘Hey, we got this,’” Sims said. “I like that we battled with them. We kept battling and we didn’t give up.”

Cisar and Emily Curtin led The Master’s with eight kills each. McKenna Hafner had 21 digs. Sims totaled four aces and came away feeling the Mustangs had answered the bell.

“It’s cool to have our fans here because the last couple games we haven’t been playing that well. We’ve had some injuries and stuff,” Sims said. “We want to make it fun for our fans. I think even though we lost, it was fun for them to watch.”

The Mustangs will host Redlands on Tuesday at 7 p.m.