This is a must-win day for the Cal Poly volleyball team as they go dig or go home in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament today at Ohio University.
The 16th-seeded Mustangs (21-7, 15-1 Big West), who earned their second-consecutive Big West Conference title this year are riding a 12-match winning streak that can come to an end tonight if they fail to topple Xavier (24-10, 11-2 Atlantic-10) – a team they lost to 3-1 at the San Francisco ASICS/Coca-Cola Invitation Sept. 14.
Following the Poly-Xavier match-up, host Ohio (26-5, 15-1 Mid-American) will take on Purdue (18-13, 11-9 Big Ten). The winners of both contests will meet on Saturday evening in hopes of advancing to the Stanford Regional in Palo Alto on Dec. 7 to Dec. 8.
Xavier, the only team in the sub-regional that the Mustangs have faced this year, placed second in the Atlantic-10 West Division this season as it fell 3-0 to 15th-seeded Dayton in the Atlantic-10 tournament championship match. Poly has an all-time record of 1-2 against Purdue and it has never faced Ohio.
Cal Poly has never made it past the third round in 13 NCAA Tournament appearances and is 11-13 all-time in the NCAA Tournament.
The Mustangs stampeded into the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 1981 and returned for nine straight showings. For 10 years, Poly saw no tournament action. Then, after the 1999 campaign, the Mustangs entered the big dance in 2000 and 2002. This year marks Poly’s first second-consecutive playoff appearance since the 1981-89 run.
Although the Mustangs will be battling in Ohio, the event can be heard on ESPN 1280 AM.