SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Playing in front of its home crowd for the first time this season, the Cal Poly volleyball program improved to 8-2 after a three-set sweep (25-22, 25-10 and 26-24) of San Diego State on Friday evening in front of 973 fans inside the Mott Athletics Center. Mustang sophomore outside hitter Raeann Greisen led all attackers with 17 kills and freshman outside hitter Adlee Van Winden continued her impressive initial collegiate season with 14 more kills in the victory.
Not since the 2001 season has Cal Poly started a schedule by collecting wins in eight of its first 10 matches. The sweep of San Diego State is Cal Poly's fourth three-set victory this season. The Mustangs used attack percentages of .256, .647 and .367 to overcome the Aztecs.
Cal Poly sophomore setter Taylor Nelson amassed a match-best 41 kills, while senior libero Nicole Kessler led all defensive players with 14 digs. Mustang sophomore libero Bailey Roach compiled 12 digs and three service aces.
Emma Fuzie led San Diego State with 10 kills, Hailey Jones totaled 24 assists and Alexis Cage chipped in with 10 digs.
With the initial set knotted at six apiece, kills by Greisen and senior outside hitter Hannah Schleis provided the Mustangs with an 8-7 advantage. The Aztecs drew even at 11, and after Van Winden sent home two kills during the next three points, the Mustangs were back in front, 13-12. The back and forth affair continued, as the first set featured 18 ties and five lead changes. After a service ace by Cal Poly sophomore middle blocker Savannah Niemen gave the Mustangs a 23-21 lead, a kill by Greisen and attack error by the Aztecs gave Cal Poly the 25-22 first-set win and early match lead.
The second set was all Cal Poly, as the Mustangs jumped out to a lead of 9-7 and turned it on from there. With Roach serving, the Aztecs made five attack errors and Van Winden collected two kills during a 10-0 run to give Cal Poly a 19-7 advantage. Consecutive kills by Van Winden and Niemen and an attack error by SDSU catapulted the Mustangs to a 25-10 second-set triumph and commanding 2-0 match lead.
Van Winden – the reigning and three-time Big West Conference Freshman Player of the Week – collected three kills early on in the third set, and with Cal Poly trailing 12-11, San Diego State earned four of the next six points to take a 15-14 lead. A Greisen kill tied the third set at 15, and after falling behind again, successive kills by Schleis and and Van Winden knotted the score at 17. A service ace by Roach and kill by sophomore middle blocker Caihla Petiprin had the Mustangs in front, 19-17. After three ties and the score evened at 24, Cal Poly received consecutive kills by Greisen to win the third set, 26-24 and sweep the Aztecs.
Cal Poly committed only eight attack errors throughout the three sets, including a second set that witnessed the Mustangs send home 11 kills without a single attack miscue. During the third set, Cal Poly compiled 21 kills and committed only three errors in the sweep clinching set victory.
Cal Poly (8-2) continues its home stand with a 4 p.m. Saturday clash against Loyola Marymount, who defeated UC Santa Barbara in five sets tonight. A victory on Saturday would provide Cal Poly with its best start since the 1999 season (9-2).
Photo credit: Alexander Bohlen