The team celebrates winning a point against UC Davis on Saturday. Credit: Kayla Stuart | Mustang News, 2022

Cal Poly volleyball dominated over the weekend with a pair of sweeps over UC Riverside and UC Davis on Friday, Oct. 7 and Saturday, Oct. 8 inside Mott Athletics Center.

The Mustangs (8-8, 5-1 Big West) cruised by the Highlanders (3-12, 1-5 Big West) and the Aggies (8-8, 3-3 Big West) to stay in third place in the conference standings.

Friday vs. UC Riverside

Cal Poly led the entire match on Friday except for the opening point en route to a 3-0 victory against the Highlanders.

The Friday night match-up between the Mustangs and Highlanders started 5-4 in favor of the Riverside. Soon after, senior opposite-side hitter Maia Dvoracek scored off a tip over the Riverside middle blocker. 

What followed was a service ace by Dvoracek to take the lead. She then let a ball go in the back row and aced the Highlanders twice more before they called timeout to slow down the All-American.

The timeout did nothing to Dvoracek, as she came out with three more aces – one of which was not even touched by UC Riverside.

Cal Poly continued to roll, going up 16-6 and 19-9. Dvoracek’s seven aces was a career-high.

“A big focus for us after losing to Santa Barbara last week was our serve and pass game,” head coach Caroline Walters said. “We want to be more aggressive from the serve line which I was most pleased about tonight.”

The set was won on a rally that included a block from redshirt freshman setter Emme Bullis and an affirmative kill from redshirt sophomore outside hitter Tommi Stockham.

“Tommi and her arm are an awesome thing,” Dvoracek said.

The Mustangs came out hot in set two with a Dvoracek block to start off 7-1. Off of a pair of service aces, the Mustangs continued to grow their lead at 15-9 halfway through the set.

Dvoracek continued to excel at every aspect of the game, blocking a UC Riverside attack for an 18-10 lead, while redshirt freshman outside hitter Lizzy Markovska killed two more balls on the left side to give the Mustangs a commanding 23-13 lead.

Set two ended parallel to set one – an assertive Stockham kill to the back corner, 25-17 Mustangs.

“When she gets up, you can put a ball almost anywhere on the court and she can still put it down… it’s really fun getting to play with someone like that,” Dvoracek said about Stockham. 

Cal Poly came out firing in set three, going on a 10-0 run to start.

Markovska showed her skills on both sides of the ball during the run. The seventh point was scored by her attack and two points later she blocked Riverside’s Anya Green.

“I’m really happy with a complete game from Lizzy tonight: serve-receive, attacking, blocking, had a few nice digs and she’s going to be really aggressive from the service line,” Walters said.

After building a double-digit lead, Riverside scored twice to make the score 10-2. Later, when Dvoracek got her chance to serve she aced the Highlanders again. 

After some more dominant Cal Poly play, Riverside rallied to make it 21-14 before the timeout.

Following three consecutive kills from Stockham, the Mustangs secured the 25-15 set victory and the overall sweep.

“I think when we minimize and take it day-by-day that’s when we place the most consistent, the most confident, the most calm and it ends up being the best,” Dvoracek said about moving through conference matches.

Saturday vs. UC Davis

The Mustangs followed up Friday’s win with yet another sweep on Saturday against UC Davis.

Cal Poly had a successful night on both ends, hitting .269 as a team while limiting the Aggies to a hitting percentage under .100.

Coming off a strong performance against Riverside, set one between these two teams was tightly contested, as the score was knotted up at 11-11. 

With constant success on the attack, the Mustangs were then able to advance the lead to 20-12, but Davis made a late push to cut the lead down to 24-21. However, Cal Poly finished the set strong with a 25-21 win. 

After a very strong effort by both teams to start off the second set, the Mustangs jumped out to a 12-5 lead, and Cal Poly’s dominant play continued to raise the advantage to 17-8. 

The Mustangs then closed out the set at 25-11 following an ace from Markovska. 

UC Davis, looking to change the tempo, came out strong in the third set and grabbed a 7-4 lead. However, Cal Poly responded with a handful of runs to recapture the lead at 15-13. After back-to-back 5-1 runs from both teams, the score sat at 21-19 in favor of the Mustangs. 

The tensions were high late in the set, as service errors came from both sides of the court to bring the score to 23-21, but the Mustangs capped off the weekend with a 25-21 set-three win. 

After two successful nights at home, Cal Poly will now face CSU Bakersfield on Tuesday, Oct. 11 at 6 p.m. at The Icardo Center.