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Cal Poly Volleyball To Host No. 9 UCLA Thursday and Friday

Cal Poly Volleyball To Host No. 9 UCLA Thursday and Friday

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — The Cal Poly volleyball team will play its first home matches of the 2018 season this week when it hosts No. 9 UCLA for two matches in what will be a rematch of last season's second round of the NCAA Tournament. The first match is set for Thursday, September 6 and the other is Friday, September 7. Both matches will be at 7 p.m. inside Mott Athletics Center.

Right before the start of Thursday's match, there will be a brief ceremony celebrating last season's Big West Championship. Also, the first 250 fans will receive free Big West Champions shirts.

Links for tickets, audio, video and live stats for both matches can be found above, on the schedule page or via the GoPoly Front Row app.

The No. 22 Mustangs (5-1) have won four matches in a row after going 3-0 over the weekend to win the Utah State Invitational. There, they beat Loyola Marymount in five sets before sweeping both University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and Utah State. Junior Torrey Van Winden was named Tournament MVP while senior Adlee Van Winden and freshman Avalon DeNecochea (De-Neck-O-Shea) were named to the All-Tournament Team.

So far this season, Torrey is averaging a team-leading 4.23 kills per set and a .337 hitting percentage to go along with 2.41 digs per set. Adlee is second on the team in kills with 2.86 kills per set and is second in digs to senior libero Katherine Brouker with 2.45. DeNecochea, the Mustangs' setter, is averaging 8.86 assists per set.

The Bruins (4-0) are coming off two wins over Top 25 opponents last weekend. They beat No. 12 Baylor and No. 19 San Diego, both in five sets to climb to No. 9 in the country. UCLA returns nine players from last year's squad that bested the Mustangs 3-1 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

UCLA's Mac May was named PAC-12 Offensive Player of the Week after this week after compiling 35 kills, 13 digs and three blocks in their two wins last weekend. May currently leads the Bruins with 3.67 kills per set and is second with five service aces, adding 1.50 digs per set.

The matches against UCLA will mark the second time this season Cal Poly has played a Top 25 opponent. Earlier this season, the No. 22 Mustangs fell to No. 20 Pittsburgh 1-3 on the road, its only loss so far this season.

Mustangs No. 22 in AVCA Top 25: After the second week of the season, Cal Poly moved up two spots to No. 22 in the AVCA Top 25 Poll. Previously, the Mustangs were ranked No. 24 in the AVCA Preseason Top 25, the first time since 2008 Cal Poly was ranked in the Preseason Poll and through week one of the season before moving up this week.

After going 27-3 last year, the Mustangs ended the season ranked No. 22 in the final AVCA Top 25 Poll. At one point during the season they were ranked as high as No. 21. In last year's AVCA Preseason Poll they were in the 'others receiving votes' category before breaking into the Top 25 October 9.

Cal Poly Picked To Repeat As Big West Champion: After capturing its first Big West title in 10 years, Cal Poly was selected to repeat as the Big West Conference women's volleyball champion after claiming five first-place votes en route to a 77-point total, as voted on by the nine head coaches.

The University of Hawai'i secured the remaining four first-place votes to lock down the second spot with 75 points. UC Irvine followed in the third slot with 62 points, while Long Beach State registered 48 points to rank fourth and UC Santa Barbara was close behind in fifth place with 45 points. The Aggies of UC Davis nabbed 38 points for the sixth spot and was followed by CSUN (30), UC Riverside (18) and Cal State Fullerton (12).

The Mustangs are coming off a year where they posted the program's best overall record of 27-3, a perfect 16-0 Big West Conference mark and an undefeated home record for the first time since 2007. Led by 2017 AVCA Pacific North Coach of the Year Sam Crosson, Cal Poly posted its first NCAA Tournament win since 2007.

RETURNING POWER: The Mustangs return four players who earned Big West postseason awards this past season in seniors Adlee Van Winden and Katherine Brouker, junior Torrey Van Winden and sophomore Madilyn Mercer. Torrey and Adlee Van Winden were both named to the First Team All-Big West as well as AVCA All-American Honorable Mention. Brouker received Honorable Mention honors and Mercer was named to the Big West All-Freshman Team a year ago.

NEW FACES: This season the Mustangs welcome seven newcomers to the team. They added five freshmen and two transfers, one from Duke and one from Pepperdine.

MUSTANGS AMONG NATIONAL AND CONFERENCE LEADERS: Through the first two weeks of the season, Cal Poly leads the Big West in hitting percentage (.272) and is second in blocks (2.14 per set).

Individually, Torrey Van Winden is fifth in the Big West in kills (4.23 per set) and sophomore Madilyn Mercer is third in the conference in blocks (1.05 per set)

As a team, the Mustangs concluded 2017 ranked in the nation's Top 10 in kills per set (2nd - 15.07), assists (4th - 14.06), win/loss percentage (5th - .900) and hitting percentage (7th - .310).

Individually, junior Torrey Van Winden finished sixth in the nation last season in kills per set (4.72), second in the Big West.

BROUKER DIGGING THROUGH THE RECORD BOOKS: Mustang senior libero Katherine Brouker is fourth in program history for digs per set, with 3.76.

Last season, she finished fifth in the Big West in digs and was named Big West Defensive Player of the Week Oct. 30.

VAN WINDENS MAKING HISTORY: The sister duo of senior Adlee Van Winden and junior Torrey Van Winden continue to make their marks on Cal Poly volleyball history.

Last season, Torrey finished the year with 4.83 kills per set. That was good for second highest kills per set average in program history. She compiled a total of 488 kills, seventh most in a single season in program history.

Heading into her senior season, Adlee has a career 3.64 kills per set average. She currently sits seventh in program history for career kills per set average.

MUSTANGS ON ESPN3: Cal Poly will play three matches this season that will be aired on ESPN3. The first will be the road match against Cal State Fullerton on September 21 at 7 p.m. The second will be October 19 at 7 p.m. when the Mustangs travel to take on CSUN. The third will be Poly's road match against UC Irvine November 10 at 7 p.m. All of those matches can be watched on ESPN3.com

FOLLOW THE MUSTANGS: Tickets are available at GoPoly.com, by calling (805) 756-4849 or by visiting the sidewalk window at the on-campus Performing Arts Center from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays.

Upcoming home matches in Mott Athletics Center feature several community events and fan giveaways:

Sept. 6 (Thur., 7 p.m.) • vs. UCLA
2017 Big West Champions banner ceremony. Free Big West Champion shirts to the first 250 fans.

Sept. 28 (Fri., 7 p.m.) • vs. CSUN
Youth Night – all kids 13-and-under receive free admission, with a postgame autograph session with the team courtside.

Sept. 29 (Sat., 7 p.m.) • vs. Long Beach State
Double-Up Saturday, the match is free to anyone showing a ticket for the football game vs. Montana.

Oct. 6 (Sat., 7 p.m.) • vs. Hawai'i
Alumni Night / Blackout – The first 250 fans will receive black Cal Poly volleyball shirts.

Nov. 16 (Fri., 7 p.m.) • vs. UC Riverside
Faculty & Staff Appreciation Night: All Cal Poly instructors and staff receive up to four free tickets.

Nov. 17 (Sat., 7 p.m.) • vs. Cal State Fullerton
Senior Night

Families are also encouraged to sign up for Mustang Kids Club ($10 per child/8th grade or under), as benefits include ongoing free admission to all regular-season soccer, volleyball, wrestling & women's basketball events along with select football, men's basketball and baseball games; plus invitations to exclusive events, birthday cards, free ice cream from Doc Burnstein's and a T-Shirt.

Cal Poly students always get into games for free, and are also invited to join the Stang Gang. Stang Gang — Cal Poly's student fan group — features several rewards for a $10 one-time lifetime registration fee, including prizes from sponsors such as Woodstock's Pizza, Eureka! and VISA, a member T-Shirt, and more upon reaching point levels by checking in at games.