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Cal Poly Visits UC Riverside, Cal State Fullerton as Big West Play Resumes

Cal Poly Visits UC Riverside, Cal State Fullerton as Big West Play Resumes


SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – After splitting a pair of home conference matches last weekend, Cal Poly volleyball aims to improve on its 9-3 Big West record when traveling to UC Riverside for a 7 p.m. PT Friday match and Cal State Fullerton for a 7 p.m. Saturday battle. The Mustangs – off to a 17-6 overall record through the season's first 23 matches – have already beaten both the Highlanders and the Titans this season.

Saturday's match at Cal State Fullerton will be televised by ESPN3, with Trent Schlom (play-by-play) and Brittany Hochevar (color commentary) on the broadcast. Live stats will be available for both matches this weekend through

Last Friday against UC Irvine, Cal Poly took a 2-1 set advantage only to have the Anteaters force a fifth and decisive set that the Mustangs won, 15-10. Sophomore setter Taylor Nelson established a career-high with 61 assists in the five-set win over UCI, while freshman outside hitter Adlee Van Winden set a new career-best with 22 kills. On Saturday against the Aggies, Cal Poly was again ahead 2-1 entering the fourth set before running out of gas and falling in the fifth, 15-13. Nelson compiled 52 assists against UC Davis and Van Winden secured 22 more kills in defeat.

CAL POLY AT UC RIVERSIDE: The Mustangs defeated the Highlanders earlier this season, sweeping UC Riverside on Oct. 17 in San Luis Obispo. Cal Poly leads the overall head-to-head series with the Highlanders, 21-8, which includes three consecutive victories by the Mustangs. The last time UC Riverside beat Cal Poly was back on Nov. 22, 2013 on the central coast, while the last Cal Poly loss to the Highlanders on the road was on Nov. 17, 2012. The first-ever meeting between the two sides occurred on Oct. 21, 2001.

CAL POLY AT CAL STATE FULLERTON: The Mustangs beat the Titans earlier this year, claiming a three-set triumph on Oct. 16 in San Luis Obispo. Cal Poly leads the all-time series with Cal State Fullerton, 49-10, which includes three straight wins over the Titans since 2013. The last victory by Cal State Fullerton over the Mustangs occurred on Nov. 23, 2013 on the central coast. The last Titan win over Cal Poly in Fullerton came on Nov. 16, 2012. The first meeting between the two sides occurred on Nov. 15, 1979.

SCOUTING UC RIVERSIDE (9-16 overall, 4-8 Big West): The Highlanders swept a pair of conference opponents last week and have collected four victories in conference play this season, which is tied for the most in program history. UC Riverside is 3-2 at home this year, which includes wins over Cal State Fullerton (twice) and CSUN. The Highlanders are led by senior outside hitter Helena Peric's 3.17 kills/set in conference, while Peric has amassed 133 total kills and junior outside hitter Fabiana Rosas has 126 during Big West action. Freshman Chelsea Doyle leads all Highlanders with 408 assists in conference (790 total, which is No. 3 among all Big West players this season) and junior Maddie Hubbell has compiled 219 digs (4.87 digs/set) through the initial 12 conference matches.

SCOUTING CAL STATE FULLERTON (0-23, 0-11): The Titans lost a pair of conference matchups last week (swept by both Long Beach State and UC Riverside) and have yet to win a match this season. The closest the Titans have come to victory recently was on Sept. 30, when Cal State Fullerton was ahead 2-1 against UC Irvine before being defeated in five sets. Sophomore outside hitter Kyra Hill leads the Titans with 109 kills in conference play, while senior setter Mackenzie Olsen has recorded 305 assists and junior outside hitter Paige Reed has 166 digs.

NOTEWORTHY OPENING CONTINUES: Cal Poly's 17-6 start to the season is the best 23-match opening to a schedule since 2010, when the Mustangs also began 17-6 overall. Cal Poly can better the 2010 squad's 25-match record to begin the season (18-7) with two victories against UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton this week.

KESSLER MOVES INTO EXCLUSIVE COMPANY: Cal Poly senior libero Nicole Kessler passed Melanie Hathaway (1997-00) at CSUN three weeks ago when she recorded 18 digs, moving her into No. 4 in program career dig history. Kessler currently has 1,349 digs in her storied career, which also includes 3.34 digs per set (on pace for No. 6 in program history).

NELSON CONTINUES TO CLIMB THE PROGRAM RECORD BOOK: During Cal Poly's three-set win over CSUN three weeks ago, sophomore Taylor Nelson took over No. 7 in program career assist history, passing Dede Bodnar (1982-85). Nelson already has recorded 941 helpers this season, and in addition to her 880 assists as a freshman last season, has 1,821 in her career.

MAGICAL No. 61: Nelson recorded a career-high 61 assists during last Friday's five-set victory over UC Irvine, which bettered her total of 58 set on Sept. 27, 2014.

SWEEPING SUCCESS: With two sweep victories during all of last season, Cal Poly has already secured nine such triumphs this year, two away from the 2008 season total of 11 three-set wins.

MOTT MAGIC: Cal Poly is 7-2 in the friendly confines of the Mott Athletic Center, which includes a 6-1 mark in San Luis Obispo during conference play.

CAL POLY ACES THE MATADORS: During the three-set sweep of CSUN three weeks ago, the Mustangs amassed 12 service aces, which is the most in a single match in over three years.

ADLEE ALREADY ACHIEVING: During her first 23 collegiate matches, Cal Poly freshman outside hitter Adlee Van Winden has amassed 350 kills, which includes seven matches with at least 20 kills. The true freshman has already been named the Big West Conference Freshman Player of the Week seven times this season and her kill total is good for third among all Big West attackers. Van Winden's 4.02 kills per set place also place her third in the conference entering the week. The true freshman has compiled double-digit kill totals in 20 of her initial 23 collegiate matches, including a career-best 22 last Friday against UC Irvine. Van Winden is currently No. 8 in single-season program history with her 4.02 kills per set.

NELSON KNOWS ASSISTS: Sophomore Taylor Nelson has 941 assists through the season's first 23 matches – an average of 11.06 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 career-high 61 helpers against UC Irvine on Friday last weekend. The sophomore has now amassed 1,821 assists during her collegiate career, after an 880-assist campaign as a freshman last season, and has moved into No. 7 all-time in program assist history.

A LOOK AHEAD (NOV. 16- NOV. 22): Cal Poly hosts No. 7 Hawai'i for a lone conference matchup on Thursday, which is also Senior Day for three Mustang seniors (Hannah Schleis, Maddie Kuber and Nicole Kessler).