The Master’s University men’s volleyball team has made history: For the first team in the program’s short history, the Mustangs were ranked No. 1 in the most recent NAIA Men’s Volleyball Top 15 Poll, released Wednesday.
“What matters more is being No. 1 at the end of the season, not toward the beginning,” TMU head coach Jared Goldberg said in a prepared statement. “We have a lot of work ahead of us.”
Wednesday’s ranking is also a testament to how good TMU’s conference — the Golden State Athletic Conference — is this year, as four teams (TMU, Ottawa University of Arizona, Vanguard, Menlo) are ranked in the top six and a fifth (Arizona Christian) is receiving votes, according to the statement released by TMU.
“I don’t think the ranking is going to determine how we approach each game,” Goldberg said. “We know we have challenges ahead of us. Based on the current rankings, we play the No. 2 team in the country two more times, the No. 3 team in the country two more times, the No. 4 and 5 teams once each and the No. 6 team two more times. There’s a lot of talented teams in that group, and my honest assessment is we are all going to beat up on each other a little bit.”
This season marks just the fourth year The Master’s has had men’s volleyball as a varsity sport, and just the fifth year the sport has been in the GSAC. And while Goldberg is entering his third season as the Mustangs’ coach, he arrived just days before the beginning of the 2021 season.
“As of (Wednesday), it is just under two years since I got here,” he said. “It is pretty cool to see how much the program has evolved. There have been a lot of challenges along the way, but I’m happy to be where we are right now.”
The Master’s will be on the road Friday night in Irvine to take on Concordia University, then back home Saturday to play No. 5 Benedictine-Mesa. That match begins at 1 p.m.