SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Behind a balanced offensive attack with six players collecting five or more kills, the Cal Poly volleyball team defeated North Texas (25-15, 25-10, 25-9) Thursday night in the home opener and its opening match of the ShareSLO Mustang Challenge.
With the win, the Mustangs (1-3, 0-0 Big West) collected their first win of the 2019 season and extended their program-record home winning streak to 22 matches.
Junior outside hitters Maia Dvoracek and Jamie Stivers each had 10 kills to pace Cal Poly. Dvoracek also added seven digs and three service aces, and Stivers added eight digs. Sophomore setter Avalon DeNecochea dished out a match-high 29 assists and also added eight kills, five digs and three blocks. Junior middle blocker Madilyn Mercer posted six kills and an ace. Senior outside hitter Nikki Jackson and sophomore middle blocker Meredith Phillips each added five kills. Phillips also finished with a team-high four blocks.
The Mustangs played tough defense all night, holding the Mean Green (2-2) to an .071 hitting percentage for the match while they hit .370 as a team.
Cal Poly opened the match by getting out to a quick 6-1 lead, forcing North Texas to call timeout. The Mustangs didn't slow down from there, eventually extending the lead to as much as nine points. With Cal Poly leading 13-4, the Mean Green went on a 6-1 run to cut the lead to four points. The Mustangs responded with a 7-2 run of their own to make it 21-12. They didn't look back from there, going on to win the first set 25-15.
The second set saw Cal Poly once again get out to an early lead, going up 9-3. The Mustangs pushed on the gas pedal from there, going up 22-8 at one point. Cal Poly won the set 25-10 thanks in part to holding North Texas to a -.062 hitting percentage for the set.
The Mustangs saved their best offensive set of the season for the third. They hit .536 while holding the Mean Green to a .158 hitting percentage. The third set started much closer than the first two, with both teams trading points early. Leading 8-7, Cal Poly shut the door on North Texas with a 17-2 run to finish the set and hold the Mean Green to single digits, sealing the match with a 25-9 win.
The Mustangs will look to continue to extend their home winning streak Friday night for the second match of the ShareSLO Mustang Challenge at 7 p.m. against Wichita State. Cal Poly has defeated the Shockers each of the last two seasons. Cal Poly will also have a banner ceremony prior to the match to celebrate last season's Big West title.
Photo of Maia Dvoracek courtesy of Owen Main | fansmanship.com