SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Junior outside hitter Maia Dvoracek led the way with a match-high 19 kills, hitting .405 as the Cal Poly volleyball team swept Long Beach State 3-0 (25-22, 25-23, 25-19) Tuesday night inside Mott Athletics Center to win its Big West opener and extend its home winning streak to a nation's-best 25 straight matches.
The win for the Mustangs (8-5, 1-0 BW) is also their seventh straight sweep over a Big West opponent going back to last season and is the fifth consecutive win over Long Beach State (3-10, 0-1 BW).
In addition to her 19 kills, Dvoracek also added six digs, three aces and two blocks. Sophomore setter Avalon DeNecochea finished with a match-high 35 assists while also contributing a career-high four aces. Junior middle blocker Madilyn Mercer added eight kills, hitting .500 and a match-high three blocks. Senior libero Mika Dickson led the way defensively, finishing with a match-high 17 digs.
It was a back-and-forth start to the first set. Tied at 8, Cal Poly scored five unanswered points to take a 13-8 lead. Long Beach State then responded with four straight points to cut the lead to one. That was followed with a 4-1 run by the Mustangs to put them up 17-14. With Cal Poly later up 20-15, Long Beach State went on a 5-2 run to cut the deficit to 22-20. The Mustangs then scored two straight points before going on to win the set 25-22.
Cal Poly opened the second set by getting out to a 6-3 lead. Long Beach State bounced back and later tied it at 11. Up 17-16, The Mustangs used a 3-1 run to go up 20-17 before Long Beach State then tied it at 20-20. With Long Beach State later leading 23-22, Cal Poly scored the final three points thanks to two errors by Long Beach State followed by a Dvoracek kill to take the set 25-23.
The Mustangs once again started the third set by taking a 6-3 lead. Long Beach State later rallied to tie it at 8-8 before Cal Poly rattled off five straight points to take a 13-8 lead. The Mustangs never looked back from there, going up by as many as seven points and went on to complete the sweep 25-19.
For head coach Caroline Walters, this is the first Big West win of her career. The Mustangs now go on the road this weekend to face Cal State Fullerton Friday and UC Irvine on Saturday. Both matches start at 7 p.m. with Friday's match streaming on the Big West's website while Saturday's match will be streamed live on ESPN3.com and WatchESPN.
Photo of Madilyn Mercer courtesy of Owen Main | fansmanship.com