SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Behind junior outside hitter Maia Dvoracek's first career double-double, the Cal Poly volleyball team came back from down two sets to one to beat Wichita State in five sets (25-21, 17-25, 22-25, 25-21, 15-11) Friday in front of over 1,000 fans at Mott Athletics Center the second day of the ShareSLO Mustang Challenge.
Dvoracek was one of three Mustangs (2-3, 0-0 Big West) who finished with double-digit kills. She posted a team-high 17 kills, while hitting .293 and added a team-high 14 digs as well as a career-high eight service aces. Senior outside hitter Nikki Jackson finished with a career-high 11 kills, hitting .231 for the match. Junior outside hitter Jamie Stivers also posted her first career double-double with 10 kills and 12 digs. Sophomore setter Avalon DeNecochea dished out a match-high 43 assists while also adding six kills, seven digs and four blocks.
Dvoracek's eight service aces tied for the program record of most service aces in a match. A record that has stood since 1989. As a team, Cal Poly finished with a season-high 13 aces for the match.
The Mustangs started strong to begin the first set, scoring the first five points. Up 8-5, Cal Poly extended its lead with a 5-1 run to go up 13-6. The Mustangs didn't slow down from there, eventually going up as much as 10 points. The Shockers (2-3) were able to cut the lead to 24-21 but a Dvoracek kill won the set for Cal Poly 25-21.
The Mustangs struggled to get anything going in the second set, only holding the lead twice, both times in the early part of the set. With Wichita State leading 10-8, the Shockers went on a 6-2 run to take a 16-10 lead. They never looked back from there, going on to win the set 25-17.
Wichita State carried that momentum into the third set by scoring the first five points. Cal Poly was able to rebound and cut the lead to 11-10 at one point. From there, the Shockers used a 6-1 run to extend their lead to 17-11. A 7-3 run by the Mustangs cut the lead to 20-18 and later to 23-21. However, at 24-22, a kill by Wichita State's Nicole Anderson won the set for the Shockers 25-22 to give them a two sets to one lead.
Needing to win the remaining two sets, Cal Poly battled with the Shockers in the fourth. Both teams traded points for the majority of the set, with neither team holding a lead of more than three through 36 combined points. Tied at 18, the Mustangs scored three unanswered points to go up 21-18 and finished the set on a 7-3 run to win it 25-21 and force a deciding fifth set.
In the battle to 15, Cal Poly scored the first two points before Wichita State tied it up with two straight of their own. Tied at 4, the Mustangs went on a 5-1 run to take a crucial 9-5 lead. After Wichita State cut the lead to 9-7, the teams traded points to make it 11-9. The Mustangs offense took over from there as they finished the set by scoring four of the final six points to win the set 15-11 to clinch the match.
This was Cal Poly's second five-set match of the season after they went five with No. 15 Utah last weekend, barely falling 15-13.
The win also extends the Mustangs' record home winning streak to 23 matches, the second-longest active streak in Division I now, behind only Stanford at 36 straight.
Cal Poly closes the ShareSLO Mustang Challenge Saturday night at 6 p.m. when they take on San Jose State.
Photo courtesy of Alexander Bohlen | alexanderbohlen.com