SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Cal Poly volleyball had an opportunity on Friday evening to accomplish something that hadn't been done since Nov. 9, 2013 – beat Long Beach State during a Big West Conference match – and after a four-set Mustang victory, the 49ers 23-match unbeaten conference run was over. In front of over 1,000 spectators inside the Mott Athletics Center, freshman outside hitter Adlee Van Winden (pictured) took over and led Cal Poly with a career-high 21 kills during the win.
The last Cal Poly (9-4, 1-1 Big West) victory over Long Beach State at home came on Sept. 28, 2013 when the Mustangs swept the 49ers. For LBSU, a magical run that included a perfect 16-0 run through conference play last year, ended on Friday night.
In addition to Van Winden's match-high kill total, Cal Poly junior middle blocker Taylor Gruenewald collected 14 kills, while sophomore setter Taylor Nelson contributed 50 assists and a match-high 20 digs.
A balanced attack led the Mustangs all evening long, including three players with nine kills – senior Hannah Schleis and sophomores Raeann Greisen and Savannah Niemen – as Cal Poly overwhelmed the 49ers. Mustang senior libero Nicole Kessler delivered 18 digs and the Mustangs boasted a .253 attack percentage overall, compared to only .179 for LBSU.
Nele Barber led the 49ers with 12 kills, Ashley Murray delivered 10 and Jenelle Hudson amassed 40 digs in defeat. Four Long Beach State players compiled double-digit dig totals, including Mykah Wilson (16 digs), Barber (15), Hudson (14) and Lindsey Lawmaster (12).
With the opening set even at nine, a service error and attack error by the 49ers, coupled with a Greisen kill gave the Mustangs a 12-9 lead, prompting a Long Beach State timeout. Successive kills by Van Winden and Schleis outside the timeout brought another LBSU stoppage, with Cal Poly leading 14-9. The Mustangs scored the next two points to grab a seven-point advantage, and with a 23-17 lead in hand, consecutive kills by Schleis and Van Winden sealed the first set-triumph for the Mustangs, 25-17.
The 49ers led the second set, 12-10, but a kill by Van Winden and an attack error by Barber enabled the Mustangs to draw even. Cal Poly grabbed four of the next six points, including kills by Greisen and Gruenewald and stretched its advantage to 16-14. The 49ers battled back to knot the score at 18-all, and after a Barber kill, took a 19-18 lead. Long Beach State would then collect six of the next eight points to pull away and snatch the second set, 25-20, and tie the match at one apiece.
Cal Poly came out of the locker room after the 10-minute break and caught fire in the third set, which included leads of 8-4 and 11-9, only to see the 49ers draw even at 12-all. In fact, the third sequence featured 12 ties and seven lead changes between the two sides. After consecutive attack errors on the Mustangs, Cal Poly called a timeout, down 21-19. Successive kills by Schleis and Van Winden drew the Mustangs even at 21, and with the set tied at 22, a Van Winden kill provided them a lead, 23-22. Van Winden sent home two of the next three kills and delivered the Mustangs a 25-23, third-set win and two-to-one match advantage.
The fourth set was all Mustangs, as Cal Poly sprinted to leads of 5-0 and 18-8 and ensured that the 49ers would not have a chance to come back and force a fifth. During the 25-15 third-set triumph and match-sealing victory, Van Winden amassed eight kills, while Gruenewald sent home four for the Mustangs. Cal Poly hit .368 (18 kills, four errors on 38 swings) during the fourth, while LBSU hit only .065 (eight kills, six errors on 31 attacks).
Cal Poly used attack percentages of .275 in the first, .178 (2nd), .209 (3rd) and .368 (4th) in the victory. Long Beach State hit .171 in the first, .255 (2nd), .189 (3rd) and .065 (4th). The 49ers endured eight service errors on Friday night, while Cal Poly earned four service aces. Gruenewald also blocked four shots, Van Winden collected nine digs and sophomore setter Bailey Roach chipped in with eight digs.
Cal Poly continues conference play at 4 p.m. Saturday when hosting CSUN, who beat UC Santa Barbara in four sets on Friday evening. The Matadors are 3-0 to begin Big West play this season. Saturday's match can be followed through live stats with THIS LINK.