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Mustangs Split Pair of Matches Friday at Pepperdine Asics Classic

Mustangs Split Pair of Matches Friday at Pepperdine Asics Classic

MALIBU, Calif. — Thanks to double-doubles from both junior outside hitters Maia Dvoracek and Jamie Stivers and 16 total team blocks, the Cal Poly volleyball team took down Pepperdine Friday night 3-2 (25-22, 18-25, 25-17, 21-25, 15-11) to split a pair of matches at the first day of the Pepperdine Asics Classic.

The win over the Waves (3-5) was the first road win of the season for the Mustangs (4-4) who fell to No. 6 Pitt earlier in the day 3-1.

In the win over Pepperdine, Dvoracek finished with a match-high 17 kills to go along with 15 digs to finish with double-doubles in both matches Friday. Stivers had a career night, posting 13 kills, a Cal Poly career-high, and 12 digs for her second double-double of the season.

Sophomore middle blocker Meredith Phillips added 10 kills while hitting .471 and a career-high 12 blocks. Sophomore setter Avalon DeNecochea dished out a career-high 54 assists while also posting seven digs and four kills. Senior outside hitter Nikki Jackson finished with 10 kills and three blocks. Senior libero Mika Dickson had a career and match-high 19 digs and sophomore defensive specialist Lea Ungar also had a career night with 12 digs. Junior middle blocker Madilyn Mercer added seven kills to go along with three blocks.

For the match, Cal Poly out-hit Pepperdine .293 to .172.

The first set saw the Mustangs score the first three points before the two teams went back-and-forth from there. Tied at 16, Cal Poly scored three straight points to go up 19-16. Up 22-20 later in the set, the Mustangs scored three of the final four points, capped off by a DeNecochea kill to win the set 25-21.

Pepperdine used a strong run in the middle of the second set that Cal Poly could not come back from and took it 25-21.

The Mustangs came out fighting in the third. Tied at 10, they went on a 6-1 run to pull ahead 16-11. Leading 18-15, Cal Poly finished the set on a 7-2 run to win it 25-17 and take a 2-1 lead.

The Waves started the fourth set strong, getting out to an 8-1 lead to start and as much as 13-4 lead at one point. Eventually, the Mustangs clawed their way back to tie the score at 21. Pepperdine then responded by scoring four straight points to win the set 25-21 and force a deciding fifth set.

Cal Poly came out on fire to start the fifth by getting out to a 5-1 lead. Leading 7-3, the Waves scored three straight points to cut it to 7-6. After Pepperdine tied it at 10, two consecutive points by the Mustangs gave them a 12-10 lead. Up 13-11, an ace by Dvoracek followed by an attack error by the Waves sealed the 15-11 win.

Cal Poly is now 2-1 in five-set matches this season.

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In the first match of the day against the No. 6 Panthers (8-0) junior outside hitter Maia Dvoracek collected 13 kills and got a double-double from sophomore setter Avalon DeNecochea, but Cal Poly dropped a hard-fought match to No. 6 Pittsburgh 3-1 (25-17, 30-32, 27-25, 25-17).

Dvoracek hit .209 and added six digs. DeNecochea finished with 32 assists and 10 digs for her second double-double of the season. Junior outside hitter Jamie Stivers added nine kills and 13 digs. Junior middle blocker Madilyn Mercer posted seven kills while hitting .333 to go along with a team-high five blocks. Sophomore middle blocker Meredith Phillips also had seven kills and added three blocks.

The Mustangs' second set win over the No. 6 Panthers (8-0) handed Pitt just their second set loss of the season after No. 10 Oregon took a set off them on Wednesday.

Tied at 3 in the first set, the Panthers went on a 6-1 run to take a 9-4 lead. Later with Pitt up 13-6, Cal Poly scored four straight points to cut the lead to 13-10. Five straight points by the Panthers then made it 18-10. The Mustangs were not able to come back from that, with Pitt going on to win the set 25-17.

In a wild second set that had 19 ties and 10 lead changes, Cal Poly started by getting out to a 4-1 lead. After the Panthers tied it at 6, the Mustangs scored three straight points to go up 9-6. Pitt then went on a 7-2 run to take a 13-11 lead that was followed by a 5-2 run by Cal Poly to go up 18-15. Three straight points by Pitt tied it at 18. Tied at 21, the Mustangs scored back-to-back points to go up two. The Panthers then responded with two straight points to tie it at 23. The teams traded points from there, with both teams holding off multiple set points. Later, with Cal Poly trailing 30-29, Dvoracek pulled off three straight kills to win a marathon second set for the Mustangs 32-30.

The third set ended up being nearly as wild as the second. With Pitt leading 5-3, Cal Poly rattled off five straight points to go up 8-5. The Panthers then tied it at 8 with three straight points. Tied at 13, Pitt used a 9-3 run to go up 22-16. With things looking bleak, Cal Poly fought its way back with five straight points to get within one at to 22-21. Down 24-22, the Mustangs then scored consecutive points to tied it at 24, staving off two straight set points. Cal Poly then had set point at 25-24 before Pitt tied it with a kill. The Panthers then got back-to-back kills from Stephanie Williams to win the set 27-25.

The Mustangs continued to show fight to start the fourth set, getting out to a 4-2 lead. With Pitt up 9-8, a 5-1 run by the Panthers put them up 14-9. Cal Poly continued to battle but couldn't muster another comeback as Pitt went on to win the set 25-17 to clinch the win.

Pitt had three players with more than 10 kills. They were led by senior outside hitter Kayla Lund who had a match-high 20 kills to go along with 14 digs.

Cal Poly wraps up the Asics Classic Saturday with one match against No. 16 Utah at 5 p.m. The Mustangs will be looking for revenge against the Utes (8-0) after losing to them in the first weekend of the season 3-2 in Salt Lake City.