The Cal Poly beach volleyball team began the 2018 season taking down two teams ranked in the top 10 during the opening day of the Sun Devil Challenge Tournament Friday, hosted by Arizona State University. The Mustangs finished the tournament with four wins and two losses.
Sophomore Emily Sonny and junior Samantha Manley swept their Louisiana State University (LSU) opponents 21-10, 21-11 in the opening match. Seniors Hannah Hubbard and Raeann Greisen also beat the Tigers 31-29, 21-17. However, LSU won the other three matches against the Mustangs to take the win.
The Mustangs’ first victory of 2018 came from beating No. 10 Grand Canyon University (GCU) in the second match of the day.
Sonny and Manley secured a win for the No. 2 spot, beating the GCU duo 21-16, 21-16. Junior Adlee Van Winden and sophomore Brayden Gruenewald won 22-20, 10-21, 15-12 for the No. 4 spot followed by a third win from duo sophomore Heather Pembroke and freshman Macy Gordon 21-19, 21-17.
The final match was the most heavily contested as the No. 14-ranked Mustangs went on to defeat No. 2-ranked Pepperdine.
Freshman Tia Miric and sophomore Torrey Van Winden outplayed Brooke Bauer and Madalyn Roh 21-18, 11-21, 15-11 from the No. 1 position. Sonny and Manley won against Deahna Kraft and Corinne Quiggle 23-21, 14-21, 15-13 at the No. 2 spot. A third victory came from Pembroke and Gordon who defeated Maddie Dilfer and Jordan Ferrari 21-18, 21-19. The Mustangs’ triumph was Cal Poly’s first-ever win against Pepperdine in beach volleyball.
The Mustangs’ momentum from the first day’s upset continued onto the second day as Cal Poly swept Nebraska in straight sets for their third straight win Saturday.
Torrey Van Winden and Miric defeated their Huskers’ duo 21-13, 21-14, followed by a win from Greisen and Hubbard 21-8, 21-18. Adlee Van Winden and Gruenewald knocked out their competitors 21-9, 21-12 while Pembroke and Gordon earned a fourth victory 21-18, 21-10.
Sonny and Manley contributed a point to the 5-0 triumph even though their match was unfinished.
The Mustangs took on No. 1-ranked USC but fell short, losing the match 2-3. Cal Poly’s two victories came from the Sonny and Manley duo, who earned a win from the No. 2 spot 21-14, 21-18, and Pembroke and Gordon, who emerged victorious in the fifth position 21-17, 21-17.
In the final match of the tournament, Miric and Torrey Van Winden bounced from their loss to USC, their only loss of the tournament, to win the first position 21-10, 21-15 and led the Mustangs to their fourth victory of the tournament.
The team hits the court again next weekend with three games in two days, March 3 – 4.