Cal Poly Volleyball made its first step in repeating their recent domination of the Big West Conference with a 3-0 sweep (25-22, 25-23, 25-19) against Long Beach State inside Mott Athletics Center on Sept. 24.
The Mustangs (8-5, 1-0 Big West) have the longest home winning streak in the nation, with 25 consecutive wins in Mott Athletics Center. They have also won five consecutive games against the 49ers (3-10, 0-1).
“It is always nice to get that first Big West win out of the way,” head coach Caroline Walters said.
The first set started out trading points as the set was tied 8-8. Then, the Mustangs scored five consecutive points to take a 13-8 lead. However, the 49ers responded with four unanswered points to cut the lead to 13-12.
“I think we [were] good at the end of the set, but we have to be good from the start and keep that energy,” senior libero Mika Dickson said.
The Mustangs held onto that lead as they secured a 25-22 first set win thanks to a kill by junior middle blocker Madilyn Mercer. Mercer’s kill was one of her eight kills in the match, as she hit .500 and recorded a match-high three blocks.
Cal Poly continued with the momentum, opening the second set with a huge block by junior outside hitter Maia Dvoracek and Mercer. The Mustangs built an early 6-3 lead before the 49ers tied the game at 8-8. Long Beach continued to battle and got their first lead of the game at 23-22.
“We need to be able to execute consistently for a longer period of time,” Walters said.
However, the Mustangs scored three straight points thanks to two straight errors by the 49ers and a Dvoracek kill to secure the 25-23 set win. Dvoracek had a game-high 19 kills, six digs, three aces and two blocks.
“[Dvoracek] brings in an energy that is unlike something we have had in this gym for the last few years,” Walters said. “She is just a constant spark plug.”
The Mustangs once again started the third set with a 6-3 lead before the 49ers tied the game at 8-8. Cal Poly then strung together five consecutive points, taking a 13-8 lead. The Mustangs did not let the 49ers back in the match, as they finished strong to complete the sweep 25-19.
“A win is super exciting, but for us nothing changes,” Dvoracek said.
Defensively, Dickson had a game-high 17 digs. Cal Poly also led in blocks, 5-2.
“We have had liberos switch jerseys in the last two matches,” Walters said. “I think it provided [Dickson] a spark tonight.”
The Mustangs will go on the road this weekend to play Cal State Fullerton and UC Irvine on Saturday, Sept. 28 and Sunday, Sept. 29, respectively. Both matches begin at 7 p.m.