The Cal Poly volleyball team split its games over the weekend, losing 3-0 at Long Beach State Friday evening before winning 3-2 over CSU Northridge Saturday night at Northridge.
After taking the defending conference champions and no. 14 ranked Hawaii Warriors to four sets last weekend, the Mustangs had a chance to make a statement this weekend on the road against two conference foes.
In the Friday game against Long Beach State (10-7, 4-0 Big West), the Mustangs (8-6, 1-2) lost in straight sets 25-19, 25-22, 25-15. Senior middle blocker Taylor Gruenewald and sophomore outside hitter Adlee Van Winden led attacks with 11 kills each. Junior setter Taylor Nelson notched 29 sets to go along with 11 digs and led the team in
On Saturday night, the Mustangs were locked in a heated battle against the Matadors (6-10, 2-2) in Northridge. Each of the first three sets went to extra points, with Northridge winning the first set 28-26, Cal Poly winning the second set 29-27 and Northridge taking the third set again 26-24.
But with those closely contested sets for the majority of the game, the Mustangs were able to outlast the Matadors, taking the fourth set 25-14 with relative ease. Cal Poly closed out the game with a 15-7 win in the decisive set to win the matchup 3-2.
Van Winden had another great game, tallying 24 kills along with nine blocks. Junior outside hitter Raeann Greisen, getting the start after coming off the bench against Long Beach State, had 20 kills and six digs as well. Nelson had 65 assists and 13 digs and sophomore libero Katherine Brouker had a team-high 21 digs
off the bench.
Splitting this road trip puts Cal Poly fifth in conference going in to this crucial month of the volleyball season. With a strong October effort, similar to that of last season when the Mustangs went 8-1, the Mustangs could fight their way back to the top of the conference. Unfortunately, three of their next four games are on the road, but against teams that are a combined 27-37 (3-8 in conference). That slate of matchups against middle-of-the-pack competition could help make or break the Cal Poly volleyball’s 2016 season.