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Cal Poly Volleyball Defeats UC Riverside to Win Big West Title Outright

RIVERSIDE— Behind a match-high 21 kills from sophomore outside hitter Torrey Van Winden, the Cal Poly volleyball team defeated UC Riverside in four sets Friday night (19-25, 25-13, 25-21, 25-17) to win its 20th straight match and officially win the Big West Conference title outright.

This is the first conference title for the No. 22 Mustangs (25-2, 15-0) since 2007.

On top of the 21 kills, Torrey Van Winden added 14 digs, all while hitting .474. Junior outside hitter Adlee Van Winden finished with 12 kills and senior outside hitter Raeann Greisen posted 10 kills, hitting .471. Senior setter Taylor Nelson finished with 46 assists and eight digs and junior libero Katherine Brouker had a team-high 19 digs.

The Highlanders (9-17, 1-13) started strong in the first set. They came out of the gates getting out to a 6-1 lead. Cal Poly would get it back to 9-7. Up 13-10, UC Riverside scored four straight points to take a 17-10 lead. A 9-3 run by the Mustangs would get it back to 20-19. That run would prove all-for-not as the Highlanders would then score five straight points to win the set 25-19.

Cal Poly would get back on track in the second set, getting out to a quick 12-5 lead and up 16-8 at one point. At one point they led 23-12, their largest lead of the set. They would go on to win the set 25-13. In the second set, the Mustangs hit

Cal Poly got out to another quick start to begin the third set, going up 9-3 at one point. The Highlanders would rally to get it back to 10-7. Down 16-11, UC Riverside went on a 7-3 run to cut the lead to 19-18. The Mustangs would score the next three points followed by two straight by UC Riverside. Up 24-21, an Adlee Van Winden service ace finished off the set for Cal Poly, 25-21.

The beginning of the fourth set saw the two teams trade points to start. Tied at 8, the Mustangs scored 12 straight points to go up 20-8 and would not look back from there. The Highlanders would make a late run but Cal Poly would go on to win the set 25-17 for its program record 20th straight win.

"I liked our response after the first set," head coach Sam Crosson said. "Thought we settled down nicely and applied pressure from the service line and executed really well defensively."

"It's an awesome accomplishment for us as a team," Crosson said of winning the conference title outright. "To continue the winning streak and to continue the offensive production we've been showing the last couple matches."

The Mustangs will finish out regular season play Saturday at Cal State Fullerton. First serve is set for 7 p.m. They are looking to finish undefeated in conference play for the first time in program history. The last time a Big West team finished undefeated in conference play was Hawai'i in 2015.