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Master’s Savors Underdog Role Against Biola

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The Master’s Coach Dean Conk is hoping a large, partisan crowd will be at Bross Gym tonight when the women’s volleyball team plays host to Biola University in a key NAIA District 3 match.

Conk’s team is 2-0 in district play, 19-6 overall--only two wins shy of a school single-season record.

However, the Mustangs will not be the favorites against 23rd-ranked Biola, which is 4-0 in district play, 15-5 overall, and coming off an upset of second-ranked Westmont.

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“I like being an underdog and I think the players do, too,” Conk said. “We have a young team and we have nothing to lose. We’ll have our crowd, and our crowd helps a lot.”

The Mustangs’ attack is led by outside hitter Wendy Jones and middle blocker Heidi Elliott. Jones has a team-high 211 kills this season. She had a career-high 20 kills in a win Wednesday over Concordia. Elliott has 150 kills and a team-best .328 attacking percentage.

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Ezequiel Bongarra has paced the 10th-ranked Mustang men’s soccer team to a 6-1-1 start, 3-0-1 in District 3 action. Bongarra, a senior forward from Buenos Aires, led district players in scoring with 11 goals and five assists through seven matches.

CAL LUTHERAN / Finding Its Groove

For the Cal Lutheran women’s soccer team, the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference is home sweet home. Cal Lutheran lost its first three matches, but since starting conference play, the Regals have been unbeatable.

A 6-0 win over Whittier ran Cal Lutheran’s SCIAC record to 5-0. Rachel Wackerman leads the Regals with seven goals and three assists. She has 94 goals in her career, 16 shy of the collegiate record set by Beth Byrne of Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania.

Jill Gallegos, from Agoura, has six goals and two assists, and fellow sophomore Joey Allard, from Newbury Park, has five goals and four assists.

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The men’s soccer team is finding a new hero each match. Against Whittier on Wednesday, Aaron Muth scored two goals to spark a 4-3 Cal Lutheran victory.

In the team’s previous match, against the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, Willie Ruiz scored both goals for the Kingsmen in a 2-0 win.

Per Roald, a former member of the Norwegian youth national team, leads Cal Lutheran (6-2, 2-0 in SCIAC play) with nine goals and seven assists. Ruiz, a senior from Simi Valley, has six goals and seven assists. Muth, a double transfer from UCLA and Grand Canyon University in Arizona, has five goals.

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A three-game win over Occidental on Tuesday was the 10th victory for the women’s volleyball team--one more than it had all last season.

Cal Lutheran is 10-6, 2-0 in SCIAC action after finishing 9-21 and 2-10 last season. Lauren Bragginton, a freshman from Simi Valley, had 16 kills to pace the Regals’ win over Occidental. Cal Lutheran has victories over all three teams that shared the SCIAC title last year.

The Regals have consecutive straight-game wins over La Verne and Occidental and they split two matches against Redlands last month in the Whittier tournament.

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Gloria Rios and Marissa van der Valk helped the Regal women’s cross-country team to the top finish among college teams last week in the Caltech Invitational.

Rios, a freshman from Moorpark, placed first among college women and third overall, covering a 5,000-meter course in 21 minutes 55 seconds. Van der Valk, a junior from Ventura, placed third among college women and fifth overall in 22:13 at Lower Arroyo Park near the Rose Bowl.

In the five-mile men’s race, Jed Colvin and Jukka Siltanen of Cal Lutheran placed second and third among college competitors. Colvin, a freshman from Saugus, finished in 30:10.78. Siltanen, a senior from Finland, was right behind in 30:20.75.

JUNIOR COLLEGES / Fast-Break Improvement

Valley water polo Coach Bill Krauss was encouraged by his team’s 23-13 nonconference victory over Mt. San Antonio College last week, before the Monarchs dropped two matches at the Ventura Challenge mini-tournament on Thursday. The Monarchs are 2-8, but Krauss sees signs of improvement.

Drivers Jeff Bissell, a freshman from Agoura High, and Josh Fehring, a sophomore from Glendale, have provided the offensive spark. Going into Thursday’s matches, Bissell had 14 goals and eight steals and was shooting 70% (14 of 20). Fehring had 11 goals and led the team with 14 assists.

“These guys are the ones who are leading the fast break and opening up the counterattack for us,” Krauss said.

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Around the Campuses. . .

* Ventura cornerback Tabora Ward made 11 tackles with five assists and had 100 yards in punt and kickoff returns in the Pirates’ 47-0 loss at Bakersfield.

* Antelope Valley’s Russell Gordon, a freshman from Rosamond High, leads Foothill Conference punters with a 42.1-yard average.

* The Glendale men (third) and the Ventura women (seventh) are the region’s highest-ranked teams in the Southern California junior college cross-country coaches poll.

* Cal State Northridge soccer forward Armando Valdivia has 25 points, making him the leading scorer in the NCAA Division I Far West region.

Staff writers Fernando Dominguez and Mike Hiserman contributed to this notebook.

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