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No. 14 Mustangs to Play Final Preseason Tournament This Weekend

No. 14 Mustangs to Play Final Preseason Tournament This Weekend

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — The Cal Poly volleyball team takes to Denton, TX this weekend to play in its final tournament before Big West play begins next week.

The No. 14 Mustangs will compete in the North Texas Challenge where they will take on Mississippi State Friday at 1 p.m. PT. They will then play two matches Saturday, the first against Wichita State at 11 a.m. PT followed by North Texas at 5 p.m. PT.

Links for live stats to follow all three matches can be found above or on the schedule page

The No. 14 Mustangs (7-1) have won six matches in a row after making history last week by beating No. 9 UCLA twice in their first home matches of the season. The Mustangs took down the Bruins in the home opener Thursday 3-1 after taking the first, third and fourth sets. They then repeated that Friday with another 3-1 win over UCLA by taking three sets in a row after losing the first.

With the two wins, Cal Poly has now tied the longest home winning streak in program history. They have won 13 straight matches at Mott Athletics Center dating back to Nov. 11, 2016.

The wins over the No. 9 Bruins were also the first time Cal Poly beat a top-10 team since 2007 when that team beat No. 9 BYU 3-1. It was also the first time the Mustangs beat UCLA since 1985.

For her efforts, junior Torrey Van Winden was named Big West Player of the Week for the third time in her career after averaging 5.50 kills, 2.63 digs, 0.88 blocks and 0.38 aces per set in the two matches against her former school. She finished with her third double-double of the season in the first match before setting a season-high for kills in the second match with 26.

Freshman setter Avalon DeNecochea directed the Cal Poly offense with 12.63 assists per set in the two wins on the way to her first career Big West Freshman of the Week award. She dished out a career-high 51 assists in the first match. She then nearly matched that the following night with 50 assists. She had three kills and an ace in each match. She also added 13 digs and six blocks in the two matches.

So far this season, Torrey is averaging a team-leading 4.57 kills per set, good for 14th in the NCAA and second in the Big West and a .318 hitting percentage to go along with 2.47 digs per set. DeNecochea is currently second in the Big West in assists per set with 9.87. She is also 10th in aces per set with .30.

Mississippi State is 4-6 so far this season. The Bulldogs are coming off a tournament where they went 2-1 with wins over Louisiana Tech and Southeastern Louisiana. This will be the first time Cal Poly will play Mississippi State. Wichita State is 4-4 this season. They have lost four in a row after winning their first four. However, three of those loses have come against AVCA Top 25 teams. Last season, Cal Poly beat the Shockers 3-2 after losing the first two sets when Wichita State was ranked No. 23 in the nation. The host Mean Green are 3-8 so far and have currently lost eight matches in a row. North Texas, a Big West school from 1996-1999, is 0-7 all-time against Cal Poly with the last meeting coming on Aug. 25, 2007.

Mustangs Up To No. 14 in AVCA Top 25: After the third week of the season, Cal Poly moved up eight spots to No. 14 in the AVCA Top 25 Poll. It is the highest the Mustangs have been ranked since 2008 when they were also No. 14. Previously, the Mustangs were ranked No. 22. In the AVCA Preseason Top 25, Cal Poly was ranked No. 24, the first time since 2008 Cal Poly was ranked in the Preseason Poll.

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.

HOME SWEET HOME: After the two wins over UCLA, Cal Poly has now won 13 straight matches at Mott Athletics Center, tied for the longest streak in program history. The Mustangs last lost at home Oct. 28, 2016.

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 three weeks of the season, Cal Poly leads the Big West in hitting percentage (.265) (33rd in the nation) and is second in blocks (2.13 per set).

Individually, Torrey Van Winden is third in the Big West in kills (4.57 per set), good for 15th in the nation. Sophomore Madilyn Mercer is fourth in the conference in blocks (1.03 per set) and Avalon DeNecochea is second in the Big West in assists (9.87).

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 3.78.

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. 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.