The Cal Poly volleyball team took the Hawaii Rainbow Wahine to an intense five-set match (25-23, 25-23, 25-23, 25-18, 17-15) defeating them 3-2 Friday, Oct. 27 in front of a sold out crowd inside Mott Athletics Center. This is the first time volleyball has seen a sellout crowd since 2006.
For the first time since 1985, the Mustangs (21-2, 11-0) swept the Rainbow Wahine (15-7, 9-2) in conference play and defeated them for the first time ever at home. With this win, their win streak is now up to 16 games.
The Mustangs got off to a rocky start in the first set and struggled to take the lead all game, even trailing 8-15 at one point. From there, Cal Poly snuck in a few kills to lessen the deficit to 18-22. The Mustangs could not push past their opponents and a Rainbow Wahine kill allowed them to take the first game 25-23.
Cal Poly started the second game off strong, but Hawaii kept the pressure on the whole time. Both teams traded points back and forth, but the Mustangs were able to take the lead 18-13. Energy on the court and in the stands began to pick up, but a couple of Rainbow Wahine attacks allowed them to catch up 24-23. Cal Poly won the second set after a Hawaii error.
The Mustangs dominated the first half of the third set taking the lead 11-7, but the Rainbow Wahine pushed points and went on an 11-4 run. Tied at 23, the Mustangs could not close out the visitors as Hawaii took the third set 25-23.
Both teams rallied back and forth until they tied at seven. Cal Poly went on an 8-5 run fueled by senior outside hitter Raeann Greisen. She recorded six of her 20 kills this match to help the Mustangs take the lead 21-15. A kill from sophomore outside hitter Torrey Van Winden sealed the fourth game with a 25-18 win.
The fifth and final set was the most thrilling by far. Neck and neck, Cal Poly led 8-7 at the rotation, but again Hawaii put up a fight to keep tying the score. The Mustangs faced the match point down 15-14, but a kill from Greisen tied the game at 15. A kill from junior outside hitter Adlee Van Winden pushed their lead to 16-15 and a hitting error from the Rainbow Wahine ended the set and match with a Cal Poly Win. The sellout gym erupted in cheering.
“When they are in the moment, they have the ability to play really good volleyball and when you’re playing really good volleyball, you’re a tough team to beat,” head coach Sam Crosson said. “They have been resilient. They’ve really not allowed what has happened in the past to have an impact on what is going to happen in the future.”
Many members finished with team and career highs this match. Greisen recorded a season-high 20 kills, hitting .306. Junior libero Katherine Brouker had a career high of 28 digs and senior setter Taylor Nelson finished with a season-high of 64 assists and 16 kills.
Adlee Van Winden recorded a career-high of 18 digs and added 17 kills. Her sister Torrey Van Winden had 14 kills and 10 digs. Senior middle blocker Savannah Nieman also found her groove and added 11 kills.
The Mustangs take on rival UC Santa Barbara as the Blue-Green Rivalry returns to San Luis Obispo once more Friday, Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. in Mott Gym.