Freshman outside hitter Adlee van Winden (17) was a key component in the Mustangs' sweep of Cal State Fullerton on Saturday. | Andrew Epperson/Mustang News

Another busy weekend for Cal Poly athletics gets underway this Thursday with eight teams competing in six events over four days.

The Cal Poly volleyball team (15-5, 7-2 Big West) travels to UC Santa Barbara this Thursday to take on a struggling Gauchos squad (6-14, 2-7). The Mustangs are off to their best start since 2010 and have won seven of their last eight matches.

Freshman outside hitter Adlee Van Winden will look to continue her record-setting success. Van Winden received her sixth Big West Conference Freshman of the Week honors last week for recording 38 kills over two matches. No other Big West Conference volleyball player has ever received more than three Freshman of the Week honors.

Historically, the Gauchos volleyball squad has had the upper hand against the Mustangs with a series record of 48-27, but Cal Poly looks for its second match win over the Gauchos this year. The Mustangs defeated the Gauchos in four sets in a home match on Oct. 10.

The men’s and women’s cross-country teams kick off Saturday’s slate of events with the Big West Conference Championships hosted by UC Riverside. Both teams finished second in last year’s meet and are ranked highly this season.

Junior Swarnjit Boyal has led the men’s side in each event this season, but the women’s team has seen more diversity among its top runners. Freshman Peyton Bilo, sophomore Sydney Szabo and junior Ashley Windsor have all led the Mustangs in meets this season.

The Cal Poly football team (2-5, 1-3 Big Sky) faces another formidable opponent this weekend as well, as it travels to Big Sky Conference co-leader Southern Utah (5-2, 4-0). The Thunderbirds, ranked No. 24 in the latest FCS Coaches’ Poll, have won five straight games, outscoring opponents 207-16.

The Mustangs lead the FCS in rushing with 391 yards per game, but the Thunderbirds defense is a formidable opponent, allowing only 305 total yards per game.

Southern Utah is the sixth ranked FCS opponent Cal Poly has faced this year to go along with the Mustangs’ early-season matchup at former FBS Top-25 Arizona State.

The men’s soccer team (9-3-4, 4-1-3 Big West) looks to build on its recent string of success as it travels to Sacramento State this Saturday for a 2 p.m. conference matchup against the Hornets (6-8-2, 3-4-1).

The No. 20 Mustangs moved up three spots in the national coaches poll after their one win, one draw performance last week. Last week’s win was a 2-0 shutout over the Hornets in Alex G. Spanos Stadium. The draw came against conference-leading UC Santa Barbara on a last-second goal by freshman forward Jared Pressley in Santa Barbara last Saturday.

Sacramento State has not been close to the top of the conference all year, but pulled off a 5-2 trouncing of UC Santa Barbara on Oct. 14.

Cal Poly men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams host their extension of the Blue-Green Rivalry this weekend in San Luis Obispo. The meet marks the second non-exhibition meet of the year for the men’s side and the first non-exhibition meet for the women. The men’s team fell to USC 152-104 in a meet held at Cal Poly’s Anderson Aquatic Center on Oct. 3.

Lastly, the women’s soccer team (6-7-5, 2-5) rounds out the weekend on Sunday with its 2 p.m. home match against Cal State Fullerton (13-2-1, 5-1) in Spanos Stadium. Sunday marks last match of the season for the Mustangs, who will look to get back on track after losing four of their last five matches.

Star forward Elise Krieghoff and eight other seniors will be honored before they play their last game at Spanos Stadium.

As the fall season comes to a close for many programs, Halloween weekend marks a pivotal opportunity for gaining momentum before heading to the playoffs. Both men’s and women’s soccer finish their regular seasons this weekend, and both cross-country programs look for strong starts to their postseasons.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *