TMU athletes rake in honors

The Master's University's Benjamin Tembo led the GSAC in every offensive category this season. Photo courtesy TMU Athletics
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Enjoying success over the fall sports season, The Master’s University not only performed up to standards, but surpassed them as multiple athletes across the sports of cross-country, soccer and volleyball walked away with awards and honors.

Losing to Westmont College twice in head-to-head battles earlier this year, the men’s cross-country team entered the GSAC Championships as underdogs. Getting key performances from its third, fourth and fifth runners, TMU defeated Westmont 41-50 on Nov. 3 and as a result got an automatic bid to NAIA Nationals later in the month.

Josh Nunez, David Boggess and Justin Harris were the unlikely heroes finishing in seventh, 12th and 15th place.

Women’s cross-country runner Mikala Tockstein won the GSAC individual women’s title after clocking in a time of 17 minutes, 34 seconds at Central Park on Nov. 3. Tockstein set a new collegiate record for the Central Park course.

Men’s soccer midfielder Benji Tembo won his second-straight GSAC Player of the Year award and was a second-team NAIA All-American selection.

Tembo did not put up the gaudy stats from a year ago, finishing top three in points with 25, but still produced, scoring 10 goals and four assists in 2018. He did all the little things like beginning the attack, finding the open man for a through pass and getting back on defense.

“It feels really great to be honest,” Tembo said. “I feel very honored to be named the GSAC player of the year again. I felt like some of my attributes, other than scoring, were given attention this season. For example: dictating the game, dropping back to get the back and helping the team on defense. I feel like I excelled at that this year.”

Tembo was named a Third Team NAIA All-American selection in 2017, making him the first Mustang to be named to the third-team or better in consecutive season since 1995.

“I’m thankful for the opportunity to come to The Master’s University and it was a great finish to the season and I know I’m a better player and a better person for my time here,” he said.

Senior women’s soccer players Kellian Ahearn, Hailey Gomillion, Lynne’s George and junior Kayla Peterson were selected to the GSAC list.

George makes her fourth appearance on the All-GSAC Team after scoring four goals and assisting on three others over the course of the season. Gomillion makes her second consecutive appearance after providing late-game scoring opportunities, finishing with nine goals and five assists.

Scoring career-highs in goals (six) and assists (four), Ahearn makes the list for the first time. Peterson makes the list for the third time. She provided sound defense and played a key role in the 10 shutouts that the Mustangs finished the year with.

Three women’s volleyball players and head coach Allan Vince were picked as All-GSAC selections after winning 18 more games than a year ago.

In his fifth season with the Mustangs, Vince led the women’s volleyball team to its first-ever GSAC title in program history. They finished the season 29-8 overall, 16-2 in GSAC play and went a perfect 11-0 at home.

Kayla Sims, Jane Cisar and Madi Fay were unselfish throughout the year and it showed in their play.

Sims finished her senior year with 185 kills, moving into second place on TMU’s all-time list. Switching positions from opposite hitter, Cisar lined up at middle blocker for the 2018 season, ranking 12th nationally with a .345 hitting percentage and 22nd in blocks with 139.

The pair of Mustangs were also selected to the NAIA All-American list. Cisar made it as a third-team selection while Sims was named to the second team after being named an honorable mention in 2016.

Just a sophomore, Fay recorded 251 kills after moving over to opposite hitter, ranking second on the team.

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