The Cal Poly volleyball team lost 3-1 to Long Beach State Saturday night at Mott Gym. The Mustangs (13-7, 6-3 Big West) were riding a six game win streak before this loss to the conference leading 49ers (15-7, 9-0).
Cal Poly started the first set strong, matching Long Beach point-for-point in the first half of the set. Long Beach began to pull away, but after a failed diving save from the 49ers the Mustangs cut their lead to one point. The 49ers pulled away and won the set 25-20.
The Mustangs regrouped for the second set and came out aggressively. An emphatic kill from sophomore outside hitter Adlee Van Winden gave Cal Poly momentum as it climbed to an early lead in the second set. Cal Poly increased its lead 16-12 after winning an argued out-of-bounds call. A pump fake from senior middle blocker Taylor Gruenewald gave Cal Poly its biggest lead of the match, 23-16, and ultimately led to victory in the second set.
An exciting third set ensued after the coach for Long Beach received a yellow card for unsportsmanlike conduct in the first five points of the set. The third set remained engaging as a back-and-forth battle ensued. The Mustangs tied the score at 16 but could not contain a frustrated Long Beach squad, who rattled off eight straight points to win the set, 25-18.
The final set of the night stayed on pace with the rest of the match. A rally lasting almost two minutes remained alive by a flat-palmed diving save from sophomore libero Katherine Brouker. Her save landed in favor of Cal Poly, putting the Mustangs ahead 4-3. The 49ers rattled off three quick points before another long rally took place. Three more long rallies continued in the final set, locking the teams at 19. After both teams traded points, Long Beach State pulled ahead and won 25-22 on a kill from Missy Owens.
Cal Poly remains third in the Big West conference going into their next matchup this Friday. The volleyball edition of the Blue-Green game against UC Santa Barbara (13-9, 4-5) starts at 7 p.m. in Mott Gym.