No. 13 Cal Poly Beach Volleyball went winless against three ranked opponents in the opening tournament of the weekend at the Florida State Sand Courts in Tallahassee, Fla. on Saturday, Feb. 25 and Sunday, Feb. 26.
On Saturday, the Mustangs (0-4) fell to No. 19 South Carolina (1-3) and No. 2 Florida State (5-0). Sunday followed with losses to Coastal Carolina (2-2) and No. 16 Florida International University (3-2).
Saturday vs. No. 19 South Carolina
Cal Poly jogged onto the sand with four freshmen and four new pairings to open up the season on Saturday, leading to a 5-0 loss.
The No. 5 and No. 3 pairings for the Mustangs dropped their sets, giving an early 2-0 advantage to the Gamecocks.
While the 5-0 final score of the match does not look close, the team was able to battle in a handful of sets with some of the new faces.
After dropping the first set, duos of No. 1 Jayelin Lombard and Piper Ferch and No. 2 Piper Naess and Izzy Martinez both forced extras in their second set, where they narrowly fell 22-20.
The losses gave the Gamecocks the victory. Nonetheless, the No. 3 pairing of Kalee Graff and Emma Zuffelato was still going. The duo was the only court to extend to a third set.
Graff and Zuffelato won 21-15 in set one then narrowly dropped set two 21-18. The tiebreaker set ended 15-12 in favor of South Carolina.
Saturday vs. No. 2 Florida State
The second match of the day, which ended with a 5-0 loss for the Mustangs, had a little more at stake. Last year, Florida State barely squeaked by Cal Poly in the NCAA National Championship in the first round before finishing as the runner-up to USC.
Today, most of the Mustang lineup looked different and they battled a highly-touted and well-experienced Seminoles attack.
After No. 5 Erika Foreman and Margo Smith fell in two sets, No. 3 Delaney Peranich and Marina Warren also lost in two sets.
With the 2-0 advantage, the Seminoles secured the victory on court three, and wins on the final two courts earned them the sweep.
Sunday vs. Coastal Carolina
The Mustangs rolled out on Sunday with a very similar lineup as the day before on their way to a 3-2 loss to Coastal Carolina.
The one change to the lineup was Addie Bounds in at the No. 3 duo with Peranich.
After dropping down 1-0 on court four, Cal Poly tied the score on the backs of a win by No. 2 Naess and Martinez, 21-19, 21-16.
Up one court, No. 1 Lombard and Ferch secured their own two-set victory 21-18, 21-15 to bring the score to 2-1 for Cal Poly.
Coastal Carolina then tied the match 2-2 on court three.
All eyes came down to court five with Foreman and Smith for the Mustangs. After a 21-16 loss in set one, the pair pushed back with a 21-18 win. In the tiebreaker set, Cal Poly fell 15-11 in a match in which Foreman injured her back.
Sunday vs. No. 16 Florida International University
With more shifts in the lineup for the weekend closer, the Mustangs fell to FIU 4-1.
FIU picked up two-set wins at the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 4 courts en route to the victory.
No. 3 Peranich and Zuffelato pushed three sets but lost 21-17, 19-21, 12-15.
Graff and Smith, at court five, got the only win for Cal Poly after sweeping the first two sets, 21-11, 21-16.
The Mustangs will return to California to take on Hawaii and Long Beach State on Saturday, Mar. 4 and Sunday, Mar. 5 in Laguna Beach, Calif.