SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Cal Poly volleyball won its fourth match in a row on Saturday evening, beating UC Santa Barbara in four sets (25-20, 26-28, 25-22, 25-23) during a marathon matchup inside the Mott Athletics Center. Cal Poly freshman outside hitter Adlee Van Winden (pictured) secured a match-high 20 kills, sophomore outside hitter Raeann Greisen collected 17, and sophomore setter Taylor Nelson produced 43 assists in the win.
Cal Poly improved to 12-4 overall and 4-1 in Big West Conference play, while the Gauchos fell to 4-12 overall and 0-5 in conference.
The recent run the Mustangs are on includes 11 set victories during their last 12 and the 12-4 opening to the season is the best 16-match start since 2010.
Ali Barbeau led the Gauchos with 17 kills, Hannah Nielson contributed 28 assists and Emilia Petrachi totaled 20 digs.
Cal Poly led the opening set from the start and never looked back, including advantages of 13-9 after a Van Winden kill and 15-11 after a kill by sophomore middle blocker Savannah Niemen. Consecutive kills by Van Winden gave the Mustangs a 20-16 lead and after another Van Winden kill, Greisen sent home the final tally of the opener for a 25-20 first-set victory.
The second set was full of back-and-forth sequences, including 13 ties and four lead changes. Van Winden recorded seven kills during the second set, but it was UC Santa Barbara who tied the set at 22 after a kill by Phoebe Grunt. Cal Poly and the Gauchos traded the next six points, as UCSB climbed on top, 26-25. The Gauchos collected the set victory, 28-26 to tie the match at one apiece after a Mustang attack error.
The third set featured 14 tie scores and nine lead changes, and with UC Santa Barbara leading, 22-20, consecutive kills by Niemen and Van Winden pulled the Mustangs even. After two Gaucho attack errors and a Niemen ace, the Mustangs secured the third set triumph, 25-22 and a 2-1 match lead heading into the fourth.
During the fourth set, Greisen came alive for the Mustangs, as the sophomore sent home six kills during the sequence. Nelson compiled 10 assists during the fourth set, as Cal Poly amassed 13 digs and continued to keep the pressure on the Gauchos. With the set knotted at 18, a Nelson kill provided the Mustangs with a 19-18 lead. After a Gaucho service ace by Nielson prompted a Cal Poly timeout, the Mustangs converted the next two points – an attack error by the Gauchos and a service ace by Niemen – to secure the 25-23 fourth-set win and match triumph.
Cal Poly hit .303 in the opening set compared to .097 for UCSB, while the Mustangs used a .250 attack percentage during the second set with the Gauchos hitting .400. Cal Poly hit .220 during the third set, with the Gauchos hitting .200 and the Mustangs, despite being out-hit (.206-.167) in the final set, collected the win.
Cal Poly's Niemen secured nine kills and a season-high six service aces, senior libero Nicole Kessler had 14 digs and Van Winden added 10 digs in the four-set victory. Nelson also amassed 19 digs to go along with her 43 assists.
Cal Poly continues its season-long home stand when entertaining Cal State Fullerton at 7 p.m. PT Friday evening inside the Mott Athletics Center.