East County Sports

For now, Mustang mastery continues



ECS staff report

SANTA CLARITA – The streak may continue, but The Master’s University was officially given notice that the soaring San Diego Christian College women’s volleyball will be anything but an easy out anymore.

On Wednesday (Feb. 3), the host Mustangs were heavily pressed through three sets before taking a 3-1 decision over the Hawks in a non-conference match. Game scores were 15-20, 27-25, 25-21, 25-16.

It was the 12th consecutive triumph in the series between the schools, but if not for a couple of key, early mistakes, the match might have gone to a full five sets.

“We’ll get to The Master’s one of these days,” said first-year Hawks head coach Gene Krieger. “Right now, it’s all on ourselves with a few too many unforced errors. We’re just going through a roller-coaster ride with nine freshmen on the roster all going through a learning curve.”

The Mustangs built an early, 8-point lead in the first set, but a change in defense led the turnaround for San Diego Christian.

“It was their first match, so we couldn’t scout them,” noted the coach. “But we quickly realized that if we block them the way we did against Life Pacific, we would be fine.”

Soon the 8-point deficit was trimmed in half, but three errors – a spike sailed well long plus a pair of service errors – allowed The Master’s to take the first set.

However, the Hawks maintained the change in momentum to take the second set before the third set coming down to a coin flip.

Breanna Brooks powered the Hawks with 12 kills. She also shared team honor in blocks with Aixa Crespo, while equaling teammate Ariana Velasquez in aces.

Among backcourt players, libero Alexis DeBina-Bautis registered 20 digs, while setter Jewel McDonough was credited with 17 assists, although the media had the playmaker with 24 sets-for-points.

“We made another late mistake in Game 3, then they took Game 4,” added Krieger. “But help is on the way.”

San Diego Christian (2-2 overall) expects setter Haley Morton, an all-Pacific Coast Athletic Conference performer for state semifinalist Grossmont College in 2019, to return on Friday when the Hawks travel to San Marcos to meet the University of Saint Katherine.

In addition, a 6-foot-3 middle is expected to return from shoulder surgery next season. Plus, an all-conference player from Cypress College and an all-state player from the Arizona high school ranks are expected to join the Hawks roster.

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