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No. 8 Mustangs Beat Hawai’i, Win Their First Big West Championship

No. 8 Mustangs Beat Hawai’i, Win Their First Big West Championship
MALIBU, Calif. — The Cal Poly beach volleyball program made history Saturday by beating the University of Hawai'i twice to win its first ever Big West Tournament Championship at Zuma Beach in Malibu, Calif.

The No. 8 Mustangs (25-10) first took down the No. 5 Rainbow Wahine (26-9) in the semifinals 4-1. Later in the day, after Hawai'i beat Long Beach State to get to championship match, Cal Poly won in epic fashion 3-2 to clinch the title, knocking off the three-time defending champion SandBows.

This was the second and third time both this season and in program history the Mustangs beat Hawai'i after beating them for the first time in Pismo Beach on March 31st. Cal Poly went 4-0 in the Big West Tournament on its road to the championship. In addition to the two wins over the Rainbow Wahine, Cal Poly also posted wins over Sacramento State and No. 12 Long Beach State.

In the first match against Hawai'i in the semifinals, all four of the Mustangs' wins came in straight sets. Cal Poly won its first point at the No. 2 spot of junior Emily Sonny and sophomore Macy Gordon due to a medical forfeit after one of the Hawai'i players suffered an injury and could not continue. The Mustangs' No. 4 pairing of freshman Delaney Peranich and senior Samantha Manley put Cal Poly up 2-0 after their win in straight sets 21-14, 21-14.

The match was then clinched by the No. 5 pairing of freshman Vanessa Roscoe and junior Brayden Gruenewald after they won in straight sets 21-14, 21-19. Cal Poly's fourth point came from the No. 1 pairing of senior Crissy Jones and sophomore Tiadora Miric. They also won in straight sets 21-14, 24-22.

A couple hours later Cal Poly and Hawai'i met again, this time for the Big West Championship. Because it was a double elimination tournament, the Rainbow Wahine had to beat the Mustangs twice to win the title.

Both teams battled tough as three of the five matches went to a third set. Cal Poly got on the board first after Jones and Miric won their match in straight sets at the No. 1 spot 21-11, 21-9.

Hawai'i tied it a 1-1 after a win at the No. 3 position. The Mustangs then regained the lead thanks to a 19-21, 21-17, 15-8 by at the No. 2 spot by Sonny and Gordon.

After the Rainbow Wahine won at the No. 4 position to tie at 2-2, it all came down to an epic third set on court five. Cal Poly's No. 5 pairing of Roscoe and Gruenewald won the first set 21-18. Hawai'i's pair won the second set 21-19 to force a deciding third set. In the third, both teams traded points back and forth with both teams holding off multiple match points. Finally, tied at 19, the Mustangs won consecutive points to clinch the win 21-19 and the first Big West Championship for Cal Poly.

The No. 8 Mustangs now await to hear their named called for the eight-team NCAA Tournament to be held May 3-5 in Gulf Shores, Ala. The selection show will be at 4 p.m. Sunday on NCAA.com. There will be a selection show watch party at Milestone Tavern in San Luis Obispo from 3:30-5 p.m. that is open to anyone who would like to celebrate with the team. This would be the first NCAA Tournament appearance in program history.