TMU Insider: Cross country teams up to the Mustang Challenge


Last week, each of The Master’s University’s fall athletic teams posted standout results against some of the best teams in the nation.

Women’s cross country

Last Saturday, the fourth-ranked Mustangs of The Master’s University competed at The Mustang Challenge Women’s 5k, TMU’s fifth annual home cross country race.

TMU finished fourth out of a field 13 teams by earning a collective time of 1:34:01.3. Additionally, TMU was the highest placing NAIA institution in Saturday’s race.

Out of 142 total runners, TMU’s Morgan Pedrick paced the Mustangs by placing fourth overall with a final time of 17 minutes and 58.1 seconds. Pedrick’s time surpassed her previous personal best (18:43.05) on the Santa Clarita 5k course, which was set in 2015.

Looking ahead, the Mustangs will begin training for their next race as TMU will compete at the Titan Invitational in Fullerton at the Titan Track Complex on Oct. 21.

Men’s cross country

Last Saturday, the fourth-ranked Mustangs toed the line at The Mustang Challenge Men’s 8k and finished fifth out of a field of nine teams with a collective time of 2:11:55.0.

Out of a field of 121 runners, TMU’s Andrew Orona paced the Mustangs by placing 13th overall with a final time of 25 minutes and 49.4 seconds.

Earlier in the week, The Golden State Athletic Conference announced that Michael Sciarra has been named the Cross Country Runner of the Month for September. This is Sciarra’s first time receiving this honor.

On Sept. 3, Sciarra placed third in the Mark Covert Classic hosted by Cal State Fullerton with a final time of 25:19.83. Notably, Sciarra’s time beat former Mustang standout John Gilbertson’s program-best time of 25:24.

Two weeks later, Sciarra took 35th place at the UC Riverside Invitational after completing the 8k course in 25:18.10. Sciarra’s performance was impressive as the field of competitors was largely compiled of NCAA talent.

The Mustangs will next compete at the Titan Invitational in Fullerton at the Titan Track Complex Oct. 21.

Men’s soccer

The Master’s University made the most of its scoring chances in the second half Saturday afternoon and beat San Diego Christian 3-0.

The victory was a bounce-back performance after Wednesday’s loss at Biola and moved the Mustangs (7-3-1, 2-1 GSAC) into a three-way logjam for second place in the GSAC along with Biola and Westmont.

Following a first half that featured no shots on goal (although they owned a 6-2 edge in total shots), the Mustangs went off in the second stanza. The onslaught started innocently when Hawk goalie Josh Epstein stopped a Zach Klindworth shot at the 47:21 mark and a Humphrey Mahowa attempt was turned back by a team save at 53:52.

However, less than five minutes later (58:18) there was no stopping Christopher Logan, who put one past Epstein for a 1-0 lead. Logan’s third goal of the season was assisted by Jonathan Brown.

The Mustangs had several more opportunities to create some space over the next twenty minutes but the slight lead held fast until the 84th minute (83:14) when Benjamin Tembo, off an assist from Trevor Mangan, shoved his seventh goal of the year by Epstein for some much-needed insurance.

Just over four minutes later at 87:21, the Mustangs put the match out of reach as Joseph Hess, taking a feed from Lloyd Virgill, put his third career goal past Epstein for the last score of the afternoon.

From then on, it was just a matter of finishing out the shutout for Casey Phillips (4-2). Making his first start since Sept. 16, the junior goalie notched three saves en route to his third blanking of the year.

Winners of four of their past five, the Mustangs stay on the road next Saturday, traveling to Rocklin to take on William Jessup.

Women’s soccer

On Saturday, TMU’s Tara Aalem took advantage of a failed clearance by San Diego Christian 3:10 into overtime and booted the ball into the net to give The Master’s University a much-needed 1-0 victory over the Hawks Saturday afternoon.

The win snapped a two-game GSAC losing skid for the Mustangs and gave them their first conference win (5-4-2, 1-2 GSAC) of the 2016 campaign.

Aalem’s winning shot, which got past San Diego Christian goalie Shelbi Horner, capped off a somewhat frustrating afternoon for the Mustang offense. TMU outshot the Hawks 11-4, including a 3-0 advantage in shots on goal.

Lewis and the Mustangs now get ready to play William Jessup in Rocklin next Saturday.

Women’s volleyball

The Master’s University volleyball team survived a five-set dogfight last Thursday night against Hope International University.

Following TMU’s 3-2 (25-21, 24-26, 13-25, 25-22, 15-9) victory over the Royals (9-6, 4-2), the Mustangs’ 2016 overall record improved to 14-5 (6-1 GSAC). TMU is currently riding a six-match winning streak.

Three Mustangs posted double-digit kills. Aubrey Pyburn tallied 14 kills while Morgan Koch and Autumn Stevens notched 12 and 10 kills, respectively.

Defensively, Emily Clark paced TMU with 14 digs, while Sarah Park followed close behind with 13. Pyburn earned 12 digs. Kayla Sims contributed an evening-high 45 assists.

Based on her performance, Sims earned the GSAC’s Setter of the Week award, an honor she previously earned last week.

Collectively, TMU tallied 69 digs, 58 kills, 51 assists, 8 total team blocks, and a .226 attack percentage.

TMU is now 5-2 in five-set matches. Additionally, the Mustangs are currently one match behind conference-leading and No. 3 nationally-ranked Westmont College (17-0, 6-0).

Tonight, TMU plays Westmont at 7 p.m. in Santa Barbara. After Tuesday’s GSAC showdown, the Mustangs will travel to Missouri this weekend for a tournament where they will face No. 2 Lindsey Wilson, No. 15 Missouri Baptist, and No. 11 Grandview.

For more information about The Master’s University Athletics, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @TMUAthletics.

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