The Mustangs could not come out of the Husky Invite with a win in three games on Thursday, Sept. 8 and Friday, Sept. 9 at the University of Washington.
Cal Poly (0-6) dropped game one against Northwestern 3-1 and narrowly lost 3-2 to No. 24 ranked Pepperdine on Friday. The following day, the Mustangs also went five sets with No. 13 University of Washington but fell 3-2.
Game One vs. Northwestern
In the 11 a.m. matchup, Cal Poly squared off against the undefeated Northwestern Wildcats.
The Mustangs came out strong with a convincing 25-16 win in set one. During this set, they hit a season-high .312.
Set two, three and four were all within reach, but none were victories for Cal Poly.
In set two, the Mustangs pulled out to a 15-11 lead, but the Wildcats went on an 8-3 run to take the lead at 19-18. After the teams tied it up at 21-21, Northwestern won the next four points to take the set and put the match at 1-1.
Northwestern held the lead for most of set three. Cal Poly was up 6-5 at one point, but the Wildcats then rattled off seven straight points. Later, down 20-14, the Mustangs scored four consecutive points to cut the lead to two. However, Northwestern went on another run and closed out up 25-20.
In a must-win set four, Cal Poly fell short after trailing 5-4, 15-11, 19-13 and by the final score of 25-20.
Despite the loss, redshirt sophomore outside hitter Tommi Stockham recorded a season-high 15 kills and 10 digs.
Game Two vs. No. 24 Pepperdine
The Mustangs fell just two points shy of upsetting No. 24 Pepperdine in the 5 p.m. contest on day one of the Husky Invite.
In set one, Cal Poly and Pepperdine were consistently within two points of each other until a 15-11 Pepperdine lead. The Mustangs had a chance to take the lead down 18-17, but could not and fell by the smallest margin possible at 25-23.
The Mustangs were down 9-8 in the second set when kills by senior outside hitter Maia Dvoracek, middle blocker Kate Slack and Stockham helped them to a 12-9 lead. Cal Poly held the lead again at 20-15 and 21-18. From there, Stockham racked up four kills on the following five Mustang points for a 25-22 victory.
Tied at one set each, the match became a best of three. In set three, the Mustangs struggled to find a groove. Pepperdine scored four straight on service aces and took the largest lead of the match with a final score of 25-17.
This left the Mustangs in a must-win set four, and they did exactly that. After trailing 8-4 and 11-9, Cal Poly scored three straight to take a 12-11 lead. The set became tied again at 21-21 before Dvoracek tallied three kills in the next five total points to put the Mustangs up 24-22, which they closed out 25-23 on another Dvoracek kill.
Set five was a heartbreaker, as Cal Poly once led by a score of 11-5. Pepperdine tied the set and total match at 12-12 thanks to a 7-1 run. After some back-and-forth play, the two squads were all squared at 15-15, which meant the next team to take a two-point lead would win. The Mustangs then had two back-to-back attack errors to fall 17-15 and lose 3-2 to the Waves.
Game Three vs. No. 13 Washington
In set one of their final match, the Mustangs were up 18-15 until the Huskies went on a run to make the score 22-18 and finally win 25-21.
Cal Poly took an 8-5 lead early in set two but soon found themselves trailing 18-17. The Mustangs then scored six straight and eight of the last nine total points to tie the match at 1-1 with a 25-19 set two victory.
Big-time blocks and a handful of attacking errors helped push the Mustangs to that win. Dvoracek had 20 kills and hit .462 in the match while Stockham and redshirt freshman outside hitter Lizzy Markovska had 14 kills and 12 kills, respectively.
Set three was all tied up at 12-12 halfway through when Cal Poly went on a 5-1 run to comfortably put them ahead 17-13. The team continued to dominate and went on a 6-1 run moments later to leave them up by seven at 23-16.
Two points away from victory, the teams traded points making it 24-17. The Huskies then scored four straight, but it was not enough to come back as Cal Poly won 25-21.
Up 2-1, the Mustangs needed to win one of the final two sets, but they could not. Set four was a narrow loss at 25-22 after it was tied at 19-19 at one point.
In set five, the Huskies took an early lead at 7-4 then the Mustangs fought back to make it 8-7. However, Washington would go on to score seven straight to take the tiebreaker fifth set and the match.
Cal Poly will continue on the road and stay up north, facing Portland State in Oregon on Sunday, Sept. 11 at 1 p.m.