Volleyball swept conference rival University of Hawai’i for the first time in program history Oct. 11 in Mott Athletics Center. Junior outside hitter Maia Dvoracek secured a match-high 16 kills as the Mustangs extended their Big West unbeaten streak to a perfect 6-0 record.

The home match took place in front of a sold-out crowd for the third consecutive year.

“I can’t even describe the feeling, I’ve got goosebumps,” Dvoracek said. “There’s no other feeling that you can have in college sports than feeling like you have that much community support, and we love it.”

Junior middle blocker Madilyn Mercer (14) and sophomore setter Avalon DeNecochea (8) go for a block against the Rainbow Wahine. Diego Rivera | Mustang News

The Mustangs (13-5, 6-0 Big West) opened the match with a 5-0 run behind two kills from Dvoracek. After a Hawai’i timeout, the Rainbow Wahine (13-3, 3-2 Big West), responded with an intense 6-0 run t0 take the lead at 6-5, which prompted Cal Poly to call a timeout of their own.

The teams traded points for the majority of the first set until a tie score of 19-19. A kill from Mustang sophomore blocker Meredith Phillips took the set to match-point at 24-22. An attack error by Hawai’i outside hitter Mckenna Ross granted the Mustangs the first set victory. 

Set two started in the Rainbow Wahine’s favor as the team initially went up 3-0. The set proved to be just as competitive as the first as the two teams leveled out and traded points until the score was tied at 18-18. The Rainbow Wahine surged ahead and secured a 24-22 lead, but a Cal Poly timeout was called before Hawai’i could take the set victory.

Dvoracek produced three straight kills to switch the momentum and a Hawai’i attack error followed to secure the second set win for the Mustangs.

“I thought our team did a really good job of playing a complete match tonight,” head coach Caroline Walters said. “We play really good volleyball when our backs are against the wall, I think we saw a little bit of that in set two.” 

The Mustangs celebrate their first-ever sweep over conference rival University of Hawai’i on Oct. 11. Diego Rivera | Mustang News
The Mustangs celebrate their first-ever sweep over conference rival University of Hawai’i on Oct. 11. Diego Rivera | Mustang News

Cal Poly took full control in the third set and jumped to a 13-5 lead behind seven unanswered kills. The Mustangs continued to dominate the match with a 4-0 run to extend the gap to 16-6. The Mustangs took advantage of a final 4-0 run to increase their lead to 24-14. Dvoracek finished the set with a kill to secure the Mustangs’ first sweep of the Rainbow Wahine in program history.

“We played some of our best volleyball tonight,” Dvoracek said. “Our coaches were right on the money with what we’ve been practicing all week, and so to feel like we can execute at that high of a level, you know were really, really, excited to get down to Santa Barbara.”

The Mustangs will be on the road next week to take on UC Santa Barbara on Saturday, Oct. 19. at 7 pm. The Gauchos join the Mustangs as the only two undefeated teams remaining in the Big West Conference.

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