Cal Poly Volleyball finished 1-2 at the Dukes Invitational in Virginia as the team prepares for Big West play. Credit: Kayla Stuart

Cal Poly Volleyball participated in a three-game tournament on September 8 and 9 at the Dukes Invitational in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

In those three games, the Mustangs finished with a 1-2 record with a win over VCU and losses to the University of New Hampshire and James Madison University

Redshirt Junior Tommi Stockham had 10 or more kills in all three games with a double-double in kills and digs in the first game against the University of New Hampshire.

Poor Hitting Leads to Mustangs’ Loss Against the Wildcats

Cal Poly (5-4) lost three sets to one against the University of New Hampshire (7-3). Although the Mustangs recorded more kills than the Wildcats, hitting errors were the primary factor in the Mustangs’ loss.

The team finished with 32 hitting errors and a .109 hitting percentage.

Redshirt sophomore Lizzy Markovska and Stockham combined for 21 kills and 26 digs in the game. The team finished with 52 kills, the most they recorded in the whole tournament.

In the second set, Cal Poly fell behind 10-3 but then went on an 11-4 run to tie the score at 14-14 before securing the set victory with a score of 27-25.

The last two sets between the Mustangs and the Wildcats were extremely close. In the third set, the Wildcats would be up 24-18, but the Mustangs would score 4 straight before the Wildcats scored the winning point of the set.

In the final set, it was tied at 23-23 with Cal Poly looking to extend the game into a fifth set but the Wildcats would score two straight and end the match.

Cal Poly Stunned by James Madison in Dominating Fashion

In the second game of the tournament, the Mustangs faced the tournament hosts, the James Madison Dukes (6-2), and suffered a three-set defeat.

The Mustangs kept each set close, with scores of 25-21, 25-22, and 27-25.

Although close in score, James Madison beat the Mustangs in many statistical categories including digs, assists and service aces.

For the Mustangs, Stockham would finish just one dig shy of a double-double, finishing with 10 kills and nine digs and redshirt junior Jolei Akima would finish with 19 digs. Akima would finish the tournament with 60 digs and currently has 169 on the season.

The Mustangs Bounce Back and Win a Hard-Fought Victory Against the Rams

In the third and final game of the tournament, the Mustangs faced the VCU Rams (3-4) and completed a reverse sweep to secure a three-to-two victory.

Markovska would shine all over the court against the Rams recording 16 kills, 14 digs and two blocks. The Mustangs would finish the game with 51 kills and a .173 hitting percentage.

Cal Poly would drop the first two sets by scores of 25-21 and 25-22 and go down two sets to none.

In the third set, Cal Poly would take a commanding 5-0 lead to start the set and have a lead as big as 21-12 as they would win the third set, 25-19.

Set four was back and forth as VCU would jump out to a lead and then the Mustangs would go on a 6-1 run. The Rams would not back down going on a 6-1 run themselves. Towards the end of the set, Cal Poly would pull away and win the set 25-21.

In the final set to 15 points, the Mustangs made a riveting comeback after the Rams took an 8-3 lead, the Mustangs would have two separate 6-1 runs and win the set 15-12.

Next weekend, Cal Poly will host the Mustang Invitational, marking their return home after a nine-game road stand to start the season. The tournament includes matchups against Washington, St. Mary’s, and Pepperdine, beginning with Washington on Thursday in the Mott Athletic Center.