Cal Poly Volleyball went 1-1 over the weekend on the road against UC Santa Barbara and CSU Northridge on Friday, Sept. 30 and Saturday, Oct. 1.
In game one on Friday, the Mustangs (6-8, 3-1 Big West) fell 3-1 (25-19, 20-25, 19-25, 24-26) to UCSB (7-6, 3-0 Big West) in the first of two blue-green rivalry games this season.
The following day in Northridge, Cal Poly bounced back with a 3-1 win (17-25, 25-23, 25-18, 25-12) of their own over the Matadors (6-10, 1-3 Big West).
Friday vs. UCSB
In the first set, the two central California rivals battled to an 8-8 tie. The Mustangs then went on a 7-2 run to take a commanding 15-10 lead midway through set one. They continued to climb, going up 17-11 at one point, and closed out the set with a 25-19 victory.
From there, the Gauchos went on to win three sets unanswered. In set two, Cal Poly was down 9-6 and went on a 6-2 run to take a 12-11 lead. Later in the set, the Mustangs found themselves down 20-16.
Cal Poly rallied for three points to make it 20-19, but was on the wrong side of a 5-1 run and fell 25-20 in set two.
In set three, the Mustangs were down 10-5 and 10-8, but they battled back to tie it up at 16 apiece. The Gauchos then scored six in a row to make the score 22-16 before they secured the win at 25-19.
The Mustangs had a chance at victory in set four, as they scored seven straight points to take a commanding 20-12 lead. However, UCSB went on a game-changing 8-1 run to cut the lead down to 21-20. Cal Poly then built back a 24-21 lead before the Gauchos scored the next five points to win it 26-24 and clinch the overall victory.
Cal Poly was out-blocked 17-6 on the night and had a significantly worse hitting percentage of .176 compared to UCSB’s .248.
Despite the loss, redshirt sophomore outside hitter Tommi Stockham and senior opposite side hitter Maia Dvoracek stood out again in this match. Stockham had 19 kills and eight digs, while Dvoracek had 16 kills and a career-high 21 digs.
The highlight on the stat sheet, however, for Cal Poly was redshirt freshman setter Emme Bulls, who recorded a double-double while hitting .286 to go along with her 40 assists.
Saturday vs. CSUN
In their second matchup of the weekend, the Mustangs started out slow, getting down 10-2 quickly in set one. The lead for CSUN later became 19-7 and 22-8 before Cal Poly went on a seven-point run to make the match a little tighter at 23-16. Northridge would close out with a 25-17 set-one victory.
From there, the Mustangs won three consecutive sets to win the match.
In set two, Cal Poly was up 10-6 and 17-15 before a back-and-forth battle to end the set. The Mustangs scored three of the next four points, which was followed by CSUN scoring three of their own to leave the score at 20-19 in Cal Poly’s favor.
A Stockham kill, a Dvoracek kill and an attacking error made it 23-19. However, CSUN followed up with three kills to make it 23-22. The teams traded points again to make the score 24-23 before redshirt freshman outside hitter Lizzy Markovska blocked CSUN’s Taylor Hunter for the set-two win.
Set three was also close, as the Mustangs held onto a 20-17 advantage late. Cal Poly then rallied off four straight points to put them one point shy of victory at 24-17. After allowing a CSUN point, redshirt sophomore middle blocker Kate Slack won the set on a kill.
The Mustangs commanded set four, never giving CSUN a chance. Cal Poly led 9-2, 15-6, 21-8 and won at a score of 25-12.
Slack had seven kills and hit .353 on the night, while senior middle blocker Meredith Phillips had 15 kills, scoring 18 points for the team and hitting a team-high .583. Stockham added a team-high 24 kills while hitting .442.
The Mustangs, who currently sit tied for second place in the Big West, will continue conference play when they face UC Riverside on Friday, Oct. 7 at 7 p.m. inside Mott Athletics Center.