RIVERSIDE – Freshman outside hitter Raeann Greisen (left) recorded a team-leading 16 kills and junior outside hitter Hannah Schleis (right) added 15 kills and hit .359 as the Cal Poly volleyball program overcame a two-set deficit Thursday evening versus UC Riverside to deal the Highlanders a 19-25, 20-25, 25-19, 26-24, 15-6 defeat inside SRC Arena.
Sophomore middle blocker Taylor Gruenewald contributed 10 kills and hit .409 against one error for Cal Poly (8-11, 3-6), which broke a four-match slide by holding UC Riverside (2-19, 0-9) to a .179 hitting mark.
During set No. 1, Cal Poly led just once at 5-4 as UC Riverside – which hit a match-best .297 – produced a 13-6 run to go up 17-11 and outdistance the Mustangs.
Cal Poly returned in set No. 2 to forge another early lead, doubling up the Highlanders on four occasions and eventually stretching the advantage to 14-7. Still leading at 19-15, Cal Poly committed two hitting errors and surrendered two Highlander aces en route to UC Riverside grabbing a 20-19 lead. The Highlanders then secured five of the next six points to grab the two-set lead.
The Mustangs responded in set No. 3 by trailing just once and never by more than three points. With the set tied 14-14, Cal Poly received a kill from outside hitter Casey Carroll and an ace from freshman Bailey Roach to spur a 5-1 run. UC Riverside came within two points of Cal Poly just twice the rest of the way.
Leading 5-3 in set No. 4, Cal Poly conceded a 7-2 run that was concluded with back-to-back UC Riverside aces. Still trailing 13-11 minutes later, however, Cal Poly received successive kills from Schleis to kickstart a 6-1 run. The Highlanders eventually chased the Mustangs down at 24-24, but another kill from Schleis and a UC Riverside hitting error allowed Cal Poly to square the match.
With momentum, Cal Poly led set No. 5 from the onset with kills from freshman setter Taylor Nelson, Schleis and Gruenewald contributing to a 5-1 opening lead. UC Riverside failed to close to within fewer than three points of Cal Poly the remainder of the night.
Nelson added 52 assists for Cal Poly, which wraps a three-match road trip when visiting UC Davis on Saturday, Nov. 1 at 7 p.m.