The Cal Poly women’s volleyball team (21-7, 11-4 Big West) wrapped up its final homestand with two wins against Pacific and UC Davis over the weekend. Both matches lasted four games, with the Mustangs only dropping the second game in each.
Unfortunately for the Mustangs, Cal State Fullerton won both of its matches to put Cal Poly out of the conference title hunt.
On Friday night, the team faced Pacific and avenged a five set loss on Oct. 16, where the Tigers won three-straight games after going down two games to none.
Jennifer Keddy led the way with 15 kills, including six in the first game. Catie Smith, Kristina Graven and Dominique Olowolafe recorded double-digit kills as well.
The first set was characterized by errors on both sides. Cal Poly got off to a quick start, but was hindered by seven errors while hitting .122. Pacific gave Cal Poly eight points, with four of those errors coming off missed serves.
However, the Tigers’ poor play came at worse times. With the game tied at 19, back-to-back errors gave Cal Poly a 21-19 advantage and kills by Holly Franks and Keddy finished the game as the team won 25-20.
“Here’s the key, we gutted that game out,” said head coach Jon Stevenson. “Maybe it was a little home court advantage.”
The sloppy play continued to a lesser extent on both sides for the rest of the match, resulting in an overall hitting percentage of .194 for the Mustangs and .136 for the Tigers.
On Saturday against UC Davis, the home crowd bid farewell to two Mustangs, Olowolafe and Alison Mort for Senior night.
Stevenson had mixed emotions about their send off.
“I didn’t want to say goodbye because we believe we have a lot more season to go,” he said. “But it was important for them to say goodbye to the home fans.”
The two seniors went on to lead the Mustangs to their final home victory. Olowolafe was second on the team with 13 kills, Graven had 15, while Mort recorded the most Mustang digs.
Overall, the Mustangs improved from Friday night as the Mustangs hit .292, and Olowolafe and Holly Franks hit above .420, while holding UC Davis to .189.
Stevenson said he was especially impressed with the Mustangs’ third game. After dropping the previous game 25-23, Cal Poly held the Aggies to only 12 points.
The team faces UC Riverside in Cal Poly’s final regular season match on Friday. The Highlanders have not won a game in conference this season.
After that match the team will wait eight days to find out if it gets a berth in the NCAA tournament, while the rest of the conference finishes up its seasons.
“We will all be together that Sunday to find out who we play,” Stevenson said.