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Cal Poly Visits UC Irvine, Hosts UC Santa Barbara This Week

Cal Poly Visits UC Irvine, Hosts UC Santa Barbara This Week


SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – After a memorable pair of matches that witnessed Cal Poly volleyball defeating No. 24 Long Beach State and CSUN last week, the Mustangs continue Big West play this week when traveling to UC Irvine and hosting UC Santa Barbara. Cal Poly battles the Anteaters at 7 p.m. PT Thursday inside Crawford Court and hosts the Gauchos in the annual Blue-Green Rivalry match at 7 p.m. Saturday inside the Mott Athletics Center.

PAIR OF VICTORIES LAST WEEK MAKE HEADLINES: It was the first time since Nov. 9, 2013 that Long Beach State was beaten during a conference match, a string of 23 consecutive victories snapped by the Mustangs on Friday. CSUN hadn't lost in conference play this season, and Saturday's win over the Matadors was Cal Poly's first since Oct. 13, 2011.

Both matches this week can be followed via live stats through

Freshman outside hitter Adlee Van Winden secured a career-high 21 kills during the victory over the 49ers on Friday and produced 12 more against CSUN on Saturday. Sophomore setter Taylor Nelson cobbled together perhaps the best two-match stretch of her Mustang career with 88 assists and 29 digs in the two victories, including a 49-assist, 20-dig performance against LBSU on Friday.

CAL POLY VERSUS UC IRVINE: The Mustangs own a 40-18 overall mark against the Anteaters, with the first matchup between the two sides taking place back on Oct. 19, 1979. UC Irvine swept the season series from the Mustangs last year, and the last time Cal Poly beat the Anteaters was on Nov. 29, 2013 (at UC Irvine).

CAL POLY VERSUS UC SANTA BARBARA: Cal Poly has battled the Gauchos 74 previous times heading into Saturday's Blue-Green Rivalry matchup, with UC Santa Barbara owning a 48-26 advantage in the head-to-head series. For the past three seasons, UC Santa Barbara has swept the Mustangs, with the last Cal Poly win over the Gauchos occurring on Oct. 12, 2011 (in San Luis Obispo).

SCOUTING UC IRVINE: The Anteaters have opened conference play with one win in their first four matches, which included a four-set defeat at UC Davis last Saturday. UCI slipped past Cal State Fullerton last Wednesday in five sets that included a comeback from the Anteaters after falling behind two sets to one. Two UCI attackers boast 200-plus kills this season, including junior outside hitter Victoria Dennis (204 kills) and freshman opposite Harlee Kekauoha (202). Junior setter Shelley Anderson leads all Anteaters with 421 assists this season, sophomore libero Luna Tsujimoto has 237 digs and senior middle blocker Ella Rosenfeld has compiled 55 blocks this season.

SCOUTING UC SANTA BARBARA: The Gauchos have endured a season-high eight-match losing streak entering this week's action, including a four-set loss to Long Beach State last Saturday. UC Santa Barbara won four of its initial six matches of the season, and have been swept in four of their last eight defeats. Hawai'i swept the Gauchos to begin conference play on Sept. 25 and CSUN beat UCSB in four sets on Oct. 2. Senior outside hitter Ali Barbeau leads all Gauchos with 149 kills this season, while freshman setter Annie Hasselmann has collected a team-best 281 assists and freshman Emilia Petrachi has 195 digs. Two junior middle blockers – including Phoebe Grunt and Elizabeth Sheffield – have combined for 97 blocks this season.

SWEEPING SUCCESS: With two sweep victories during all of last season, Cal Poly has already secured five such triumphs this year, tying the total number of sweep wins during the 2013 season. The last time Cal Poly won six matches via a clean sweep? 2011.

RECORDS WERE MEANT TO BE BROKEN: The last time Cal Poly began Big West play with three wins during its first four matches? 2010. The Mustangs have a chance to equal that start in conference play (4-1) with wins this week against UC Irvine and UC Santa Barbara.

NOTEWORTHY OPENING CONTINUES: Cal Poly's 10-4 start to the season is the best 14-match opening to a schedule since 2010, when the Mustangs began 12-3 overall.

ADLEE ALREADY ACHIEVING: During her first 14 collegiate matches, Cal Poly freshman outside hitter Adlee Van Winden has amassed 205 kills, which includes ten successive matches with a double-digit kill total. The true freshman has already been named the Big West Conference Freshman Player of the Week four times this season and her kill total is good for fourth among all Big West attackers this season. Van Winden's 3.94 kills/set place also place her third in the conference entering the week. The true freshman has compiled double-digit kill totals in 13 of her initial 14 collegiate matches, including a career-best 21 last Friday during a four-set win over No. 24 Long Beach State.

NELSON KNOWS ASSISTS: Sophomore Taylor Nelson has 544 assists through the season's first 14 matches – an average of 10.88 per set – good for first among all Big West Conference players heading into the week. The's National Player of the Year in 2013 tallied a season-best 52 assists twice this season, against Portland on Sept. 12 and Sacramento State on Aug. 29. Nelson amassed 49 helpers during the four-set victory over No. 24 Long Beach State last Friday. The sophomore has now amassed 1,424 assists during her collegiate career, after an 880-assist campaign as a freshman last season and has moved into No.10 all-time in program assist history.

TO THEME OR NOT TO THEME: Every Cal Poly volleyball home match this season features a theme, including an Oct. 16 matchup versus Cal State Fullerton, which is a "Pink Out" game, with all fans in attendance encouraged to wear pink in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. All fans wearing pink on Friday receive two-for-one general admission seating. On Saturday, Oct. 17 against UC Riverside, the theme is "Young Athlete Day", with all 13-and-under youth receiving complimentary admission.

EXPERIENCE KEY TO CAL POLY IN 2015: Key returners for the Mustangs this season include sophomore Raeann Greisen (San Diego, Calif.), who was named to the All-Big West Conference Freshman Team after a 359 kill campaign, and senior Nicole Kessler (San Diego, Calif.), who boasted the second-most digs (444) among all conference players a season ago. Sophomore Taylor Nelson (Granite Bay, Calif.) produced a team-high 14 double-doubles in 2014 and provides Cal Poly with a steady offensive weapon (team-best 880 assists to go along with 232 digs and 135 kills).

Junior middle blocker Taylor Gruenewald (Southlake, TX) has been a mainstay amidst the Mustang rotation during her first two seasons and returns a wealth of production, including a combined 500 kills during her freshman and sophomore years. Senior outside hitter Hannah Schleis (Boise, ID) registered 124 kills a season ago, while sophomore middle blocker Caihla Petiprin (Carlsbad, Calif.) provided 164 kills and a team-best 73 blocks last season.

THREE FRESHMAN AND ONE TRANSFER JOIN THE ROSTER IN 2015: Three incoming freshman and one transfer recruit join the Cal Poly roster, which includes Adlee Van Winden (Napa, Calif.), Jillian Desmond (Aurora, Colo.), Katherine Brouker (Santee, Calif.) and Alexis Clewis (Valencia, Calif.).

A LOOK AHEAD (OCT. 12-OCT. 18): Cal Poly continues conference action when hosting Cal State Fullerton at 7 p.m. Friday and UC Riverside at 7 p.m. Saturday.