The Master’s University’s fall sports teams set out to construct challenging non-conference schedules for 2018, an endeavor validated last week when the NAIA released its preseason coaches polls. Several of the teams the Mustangs will face in men’s and women’s soccer and in women’s volleyball were ranked among the nation’s best. Of the trio, women’s volleyball might have the most rigorous route. All four of TMU’s opponents at the Hampton Inn Classic in Columbia, Missouri are ranked in the NAIA’s top 15, with three of them in the top five. The centerpiece match comes in the tournament finale on Sept. 1 when the Mustangs play reigning national champion and current No. 1 Lindsey Wilson College (Ky.), which lost all of five sets last season – yes, sets, not matches. The Blue Raiders were 35-0 overall. “We’re going into the tournament with a mindset of showing a lot of grit,” said coach Allan Vince, whose team is off to a 4-0 start. “We want to be mentally and physically tough.” Women’s soccer took up its gauntlet over the weekend. The No. 17 Mustangs lost, 3-0, to No. 6 Southeastern University in Florida. The game, in which Master’s actually outshot the Fire 9-7 after halftime, was the first leg of a four-game swing through the Sunshine State. Master’s was set to play Warner University on Monday evening with games against No. 12 Keiser University and receiving-votes St. Thomas University slated for later this week. Despite Saturday’s loss to Southeastern, junior defender Kayla Peterson felt the game positioned the Mustangs for future success. “I was really proud of the way we played,” she said of the season opener. “I think our defense was really good. I think this is a good starting point for the next three games – and for the rest of the season.” Men’s soccer will see its first ranked opponent on Sept. 1 when it takes on No. 23 UC Merced as part of the Master’s Fall Classic at TMU. But the Mustangs’ opponent on Aug. 25, Southern Oregon University, received votes in the preseason poll. And Master’s, which also received votes, will have a marquee matchup when it plays No. 4 Marymount California University on Sept. 15 in Torrance, California. Men’s soccer games moved due to smoke Due to air quality concerns in Oregon from fires in the West, TMU’s men’s soccer games this week have been moved to Menlo College in Atherton, California. The Mustangs will play Northwest Christian University (Oregon) on Friday at 10:30 a.m. and Southern Oregon University on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. The games were originally scheduled to be played at Southern Oregon University. For more information on The Master’s University Athletics, visit GoMustangs.com, or follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter: @tmuathletics.