SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — The Cal Poly volleyball program announced its 2019 schedule Tuesday, highlighted by 11 home matches on its 28-match slate.
The Mustangs' first 12 matches of the season will see them play seven matches against teams who were in the RPI Top 50 in 2018 and made the NCAA Tournament.
The Mustangs will begin the season August 30 on the road at a tournament in Salt Lake City, Utah hosted by the University of Utah. The first day of the season will see them face Kentucky, who ended last season ranked No. 10 in the AVCA Top 25 Poll and No. 8 in the RPI. Later that same day, they will face Saint Mary's, who was 43 in last season's RPI. They then wrap up that tournament against the host Utes, who were 34 in the RPI, on August 31.
Cal Poly then hosts a tournament of its own to open the home portion of its schedule. The Mustangs will host a three-day, four-team tournament September 5-7. The other three schools competing will be North Texas, Wichita State, and San Jose State. There will be two matches at Mott Athletics Center each day, with each team playing one match every day. Cal Poly will open the home slate with North Texas on September 5 at 7 pm, a team it beat last season. They will then take on Wichita State on September 6 at 7 pm, a team the Mustangs also beat last year, and close the tournament on September 7 against San Jose State at 6 pm.
The Mustangs then go back on the road for a tournament in Malibu, Calif. hosted by Pepperdine. They open that tournament September 13 against the University of Pittsburgh, a team that Cal Poly fell to last season and that finished last year ranked No. 14 in the AVCA Poll. Later that same day, the Mustangs will face the host Waves, whom they beat last season. They then close that tournament September 14 with another meeting against the University of Utah.
Cal Poly closes the non-conference portion of its schedule September 19-21 with a tournament in Fort Collins, Colo. hosted by Colorado State. There, they will face Northern Colorado, the host Rams (Mountain West Champions in 2018), and Oregon State during those three days.
That will then lead to the Big West Conference opener at home on Tuesday, September 24 against Long Beach State at 7 pm. The Mustangs have won their Big West home opener the past two seasons.
They then travel to face Cal State Fullerton September 27 at 7 pm, a team Cal Poly has not lost to since 2013. The Mustangs then travel to Irvine the next night to take on UC Irvine at 7 pm. The Anteaters finished in third place in the Big West last season.
Cal Poly then returns home for a three-match homestand. The Mustangs start that with a match against UC Riverside on October 4 at 7 pm, another team Cal Poly has not lost to since 2013. That is followed the next night with a match against UC Davis at 7 pm.
The final match of that homestand will be the Mustangs' marquee home match of the season. They will host Hawai'i Friday, October 11 at 7 pm, a match that has sold out the past two seasons, the first volleyball sell outs at Mott Athletics Center since 2006. The Rainbow Wahine have finished second in the Big West the last two seasons, with Cal Poly winning both matches at Mott Athletics Center during that span. Last season, the Mustangs split the season series with Hawai'i, with each team winning at home.
Following the matchup with the Rainbow Wahine, Cal Poly will have eight days before their next match that begins a three-match road trip. Cal Poly will travel to Santa Barbara to face Central Coast rival UCSB October 19 at 7 pm. The Mustangs have swept the season series with the Gauchos, who finished fourth in the Big West last year, the past two seasons.
Cal Poly then travels to face UC Riverside Thursday, October 24 at 7 pm before heading northern California to take on UC Davis Saturday, October 26 at 7 pm, a team the Mustangs swept last season.
They return home Tuesday, October 29 when they face CSUN at 7 pm. The Matadors have not beat Cal Poly since the 2014 season.
The Mustangs will then travel to the islands to take on Hawai'i Sunday, November 3 at 8 pm PT. Last year, Cal Poly fell in five sets on the road at Hawai'i, its only Big West loss of the season.
That will lead the Mustangs into the season series finale against UC Santa Barbara at Mott Athletics Center on Saturday, November 9 at 7 pm.
The final road trip of the conference schedule will see Cal Poly face CSUN on Friday, November 15 and Long Beach State Saturday, November 16, both at 7 pm.
The Mustangs will then wrap up the regular season at home with UC Irvine on Friday, November 22 at 7 pm. They will then celebrate senior night against Cal State Fullerton on Saturday, November 23 at 5 pm.
Cal Poly will be seeking its first Big West three-peat in program history after winning the conference the past two seasons. The Mustangs will be doing so under first-year head coach Caroline Walters, who was hired in December after seven-year head coach Sam Crosson took the head coaching position at Cal. Walters, who has been with the program as an assistant coach/associate head coach for the past 10 years, previously served as interim head coach for the majority of the 2011 season.
Last season, the Mustangs won the Big West after finishing 25-3 overall and a 15-1 conference record. They qualified for their second straight NCAA Tournament, the first time that has happened since 2006-07. They also had an 18-match winning streak during the season and were ranked as high as No. 11 in the ACVA Poll, finishing at No. 22 in the nation. Cal Poly is currently riding its longest home winning streak in program history at 21 straight matches. The Mustangs have not lost at Mott Athletics Center since November 11, 2016.
Six players received Big West All-Conference honors (Torrey Van Winden, Adlee Van Winden, Madilyn Mercer, Katherine Brouker, Avalon DeNecochea, Meredith Phillips). Torrey Van Winden was also named Big West Player of the Year, the second year in a row a Mustang took home that award. Cal Poly returns 15 players from last season's roster, including five starters.
Cal Poly Volleyball Announces Schedule for 2019 Season