Credit: Kyle Calzia | Mustang News

Cal Poly Beach Volleyball (24-10) opened the NCAA tournament Friday, May 7 in Gulf Shores, Alabama against No. 2 USC (27-4). This is the second appearance for Cal Poly in the NCAA tournament after they qualified in 2019. 

The Mustangs drew the No. 7 seed in the tournament, setting up an opening round matchup with the No. 2 seeded USC Trojans. USC defeated the Mustangs twice earlier in the season, and that trend continued as the Trojans swept Cal Poly 0-3.

Redshirt senior Amy Ozee and redshirt sophomore Jayelin Lombard were swept in straight sets at the No. 2 court by scores of 12-21 and 18-21.

The No. 5 pairing of redshirt sophomore Vanessa Roscoe and redshirt freshman Josie Ulrich fell in straight sets, 15-21 and 14-21.

Redshirt senior Emily Sonny and redshirt junior Macy Gordon were defeated by the Trojans, 13-21 and 17-21, clinching the victory for USC.

The AVCA Pair of the Week and No. 3 duo of redshirt juniors Mariah Whalen and Tia Miric fell in set one, 17-21, and were leading in set two, 20-15, after play was suspended following the match-clinching USC point.

Freshman Sam Strah and redshirt sophomore Eleonore Johansen fell in set one at court No. 4, 19-21, and were trailing in set two, 12-15, when play stopped.

The Mustangs dropped into the loser’s bracket, setting up an elimination match with No. 6 seed Stanford. Cal Poly defeated the Cardinal (3-2) to advance to day 2 of the tournament.

Ozee and Lombard fell in straight sets at the No. 2 court, 14-21 and 15-21. They fall to 22-11 as a pair.

At the No. 3 court, Miric and Whalen bounced back after their earlier loss, sweeping the Cardinal, 21-18 and 21-13. They are now 16-8 on the season.

Strah and Johansen put the Mustangs up 2-1 in the match after they swept Stanford, 21-19 and 21-19. The duo is now 12-8 when playing together.

The No. 1 pair of Sonny and Gordon dropped set one, 21-16, but won set two, 22-20, to force a third set. In set three, the duo fell, 8-15, evening the match at 2-2. They are now 23-10 on the season.

Roscoe and Ulrich fell in set one at the No. 5 court, 25-27, but bounced back in set two, winning 21-11. The pair came out victorious after a back and forth third set, winning 21-19, and clinching the match for Cal Poly.

The win against Stanford is the first victory for Cal Poly at the NCAA tournament. The Mustangs are back on the sand on Saturday, May 8 against UCLA.

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