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College volleyball: Tough start for TMC

Errors hamper Mustangs in NAIA tourney opener

Posted: November 28, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: November 28, 2012 1:55 a.m.

The Master’s College women’s volleyball team’s debut at the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics National Championships didn’t exactly go as planned on Tuesday afternoon in Sioux City, Iowa.

Cal State San Marcos defeated the Mustangs 25-22, 25-20, 25-22 in TMC’s first appearance in the tournament in school history.

The game was the first of three pool-play contests TMC will play, with the second coming today against Viterbo at 3:45 p.m.

“The biggest thing for us tonight was that we had a really hard time sticking to fundamental execution,” said outside hitter Sam Dougherty. “That is the main focus of our team this year — serve-receive, defense and unforced errors.”

Overall, the Mustangs committed 20 hitting errors and allowed nine San Marcos aces.

“A lot of us just got ahead of ourselves,” Dougherty said. “And being nervous that we were even there. Not a culture shock, but just anxious and almost not knowing how to respond. Just being so excited that we were at the national championships.”

The Mustangs held late leads in all three games.

They were ahead 21-20 in game one before allowing a 5-1 run to lose. It was a 6-0 San Marcos run that flipped a 20-19 lead into a 25-20 loss in game two. And a 21-20 lead in game three was erased by a 5-0 run.

“I don’t want to take anything away from San Marcos, but if you look at the box score we had more kills than they did we had more assists than they did. We had more digs than they did and we had more team blocks than they did,” said TMC head coach Robert Blanken. “When you look at the stats overall, you have to ask what was the difference and the biggest thing was we made too many unforced errors — especially in tight games you can’t make as many errors as we did.”

Aubrey Bekendam and Victoria Callihan led TMC with nine kills each. Callihan also notched a team-high four blocks. Rebecca Peluffo led with 23 digs and Sam Dougherty had 16.

For San Marcos, Sami Castillo led with 13 digs and three aces, and Taylor DeGraaf had 12 kills.

The 2012 season has already been the most successful in school history with the Mustangs rising to No. 6 in the nation and making their first national championship tournament appearance.

TMC finished the regular season third in the highly competitive Golden State Athletic Conference behind No. 1 Concordia and No. 4 Biola.

“I feel like tonight was just a big wake-up call on our part,” Dougherty said. “I think that for sure (today) we will bounce back, no doubt about it. Tonight was a good way of helping us realize that it’s going to be a process and we need to take it game-by-game if we want to make it to the championship.”


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