PORTLAND, Ore. – Cal Poly volleyball continued its remarkable early season run with a four-set victory over Idaho during the opening day of the North Harbour Marriott Invitational inside the Chiles Center. Mustang freshman outside hitter and two-time Big West Conference Freshman Player of the Week Adlee Van Winden collected another match-high kill total, this time sending home 15 to lead Cal Poly.
With the win, the Mustangs improved to 6-1 this season and matched the 2005 squad for the best seven-match start to a schedule in a decade.
Katelyn Peterson and Tineke Bierma led the Vandals with 12 kills apiece, while Terra Varney collected 14 digs and Torrin Crawford had five blocks.
Against the Vandals on Friday night, Cal Poly won the opening set, 25-14, dropped the second, 26-24, and grabbed both the third (25-19) and fourth (25-20) sets for the victory.
Cal Poly junior outside hitter Taylor Gruenewald added 10 kills and five blocks, sophomore setter Taylor Nelson produced a match-high 42 assists with 16 digs, and sophomore outside hitter Raeann Greisen chipped in with nine kills and 10 digs.
During the opening set, Cal Poly grabbed leads of 10-7 and 20-11 and never trailed against the Vandals. Consecutive kills by Greisen and senior setter Maddie Kuber provided the Mustangs with a 22-13 advantage, and after a Cal Poly service error, back-to-back attack and service errors by the Vandals gave the Mustangs a 24-13 lead. Sophomore middle blocker Savannah Niemen collected the set-winner with a kill, 25-13.
In the second set – which featured 16 ties and four lead changes -- a service ace by Van Winden knotted the score at five and the two sides exchanged the next five points. Successive kills by Niemen drew Cal Poly even again, and the sides traded the next ten points. After a service error and consecutive attack errors on the Vandals, the Mustangs took a 17-15 lead. The back-and-forth affair continued, with Cal Poly holding 21-20 and 23-22 leads, only to see Idaho fight back. With the set tied at 24, two Mustang attack errors handed the Vandals a close, 26-24 win and the match was tied at one apiece.
Cal Poly began the third set with advantages of 8-4 and 13-8, and after a kill by Van Winden gave the Mustangs a 15-11 lead, Idaho collected three of the next four points. Consecutive attack errors by the Vandals provided the Mustangs an 18-14 lead, and after kills by Niemen and Van Winden, Cal Poly led 20-16. With the Mustangs holding a 23-19 advantage, a Gruenewald kill and attack error by the Vandals gave Cal Poly the third set, 25-19.
With the Mustangs leading two sets to one, Cal Poly opened the fourth set with a 10-5 lead after another kill from Van Winden. A service ace by Nelson and consecutive kills by Niemen afforded the Mustangs a seven point lead (13-6) that held up until Idaho rattled off seven straight points, trimming the Cal Poly advantage to one, 15-14. The Mustangs collected seven of the next nine points to grab a 22-16 lead after a kill by Gruenewald. A Kuber kill had the Mustangs up 24-18 and Van Winden finished off the charge with her 15th and final kill to end the fourth set – and the match – 25-20.
Overall, Cal Poly hit .246 through the four sets compared to .204 for the Vandals, while the Mustangs collected six service aces (two by Nelson). Gruenewald hit .615 (10 kills on 13 attacks with only two errors), Niemen tallied eight kills and three blocks and Kuber collected a season-high seven kills in the triumph.
Cal Poly continues the Portland Tournament on Saturday with two matches, opening against St. Francis Brooklyn at 1 p.m. PT and host Portland at 7. Both matches will have a link to follow live stats on Saturday and the Portland match will have video. Click HERE for the links.