WACO, Texas – Cal Poly volleyball continued its magnificent run to begin the season after a three-set sweep (25-5, 25-11, 25-11) of Coppin State during the opening day of the Hampton Inn Waco North Baylor Tournament on Friday afternoon inside the Ferrell Center. Cal Poly sophomore outside hitter Raeann Greisen led all attackers with 12 kills, sophomore middle blocker Savannah Niemen (pictured) and freshman outside hitter Adlee Van Winden sent home nine kills apiece and sophomore setter Taylor Nelson produced a match-high 18 assists in the triumph.
In a match that lasted only 58 minutes, the Mustangs used attack percentages of .600 (20 kills, only two attack errors) in the first set, .481 (16 kills, three errors) in the second and .269 (10 kills, three errors) in the third set to upend the Eagles. Kendra Ireigbe led the way for Coppin State with six kills and Chelsee Sauni had 10 assists.
Cal Poly continued its unbeaten streak to begin the season while improving to 4-0, while the Eagles fell to 0-4. The Mustangs last started a season undefeated through four matches in 2006 when they started 5-0.
During the opening frame, Coppin State managed a 2-2 tie until Cal Poly took over, which included the next six points for an 8-2 lead. Van Winden tallied four of the first eight points for the Mustangs with kills, while junior middle blocker Taylor Gruenewald added two. The Eagles scored two of the next three points, and with Cal Poly leading 9-4, the Mustangs went on a killing spree – six straight kills prompted a Coppin State timeout – with Greisen sending home three kills during the sequence. The Mustangs never looked back and tallied the next nine points (five from kills, two attack errors, a service ace and one ball-handling error). In all, Greisen totaled six kills in the opening set, including the set-winner as Cal Poly cruised, 25-5.
With Cal Poly already leading 12-5 in the second set after a kill by Niemen, the Mustangs used two more kills and an attack error by Cindy Okpegbue of Coppin State for an overwhelming 15-5 advantage. The Eagles would collect five of the next seven points to trim the deficit to 17-10, but Cal Poly answered back with the next four points and a 21-10 lead. After a kill by Okpegbue, Van Winden and senior setter Maddie Kuber sent home kills and coupled with a service ace from Van Winden and another Eagle attack error, Cal Poly won the set, 25-11 and took a commanding two-set-to-none advantage.
The third set was much the same as the first two – Cal Poly grabbing an early lead and not letting go – and after three successive service aces by Van Winden and a kill from Kuber, the Mustangs led 8-3. A service ace by Gruenewald, attack error by Okpegbue and kill by Kuber provided Cal Poly with a 15-4 advantage. After a Coppin State timeout, the Eagles collected four of the next six points to shave the deficit down, 17-8. With the Mustangs leading 23-11, a service ace by freshman libero Katherine Brouker and kill by redshirt freshman outside hitter Alexis Clewis put the finishing touches on Cal Poly's three-set victory.
Gruenewald (who grew up in nearby Southlake, Texas) finished with eight kills and two more blocks, giving her 18 blocks and 43 kills this season. Senior libero Nicole Kessler chipped in with 10 digs, Kuber produced five kills and 15 assists, and Van Winden nearly compiled a double-double with nine kills and 10 digs. Van Winden leads all Mustang attackers with 57 kills through the season's first four matches, which includes 3.56 kills per set.
Cal Poly equalled a season-high nine service aces (four from Van Winden, three from Brouker, one apiece from Gruenewald and sophomore Bailey Roach), while producing a massive hitting percentage in total through the three sets (.458 with only eight attack errors and 46 total kills).
Cal Poly continues the Baylor Tournament with matches at 10:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday, as the Mustangs take on Sam Houston State in the early match and host Baylor during the afternoon. To follow all of the tournament action, use this LINK or visit GoPoly.com.