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No. 14 Mustangs Finish North Texas Challenge Undefeated

No. 14 Mustangs Finish North Texas Challenge Undefeated

DENTON, TX — The Cal Poly volleyball picked up two more wins Saturday at the North Texas Challenge, first beating Wichita State 3-1 (25-21, 25-19, 22-25, 25-19) before sweeping North Texas 3-0 (25-22, 25-20, 25-21) to improve to 10-1 and extend its winning streak to nine matches as it wraps up the non-conference portion of its schedule.

It was the Van Winden show in the first match of the day Saturday against the Shockers (5-6). Junior Torrey Van Winden had a match-high 21 kills, hitting .436 and added nine digs and three blocks. Senior Adlee Van Winden recorded her third double-double of the season, recording 20 kills, 11 digs and four blocks. Sophomore Madilyn Mercer added seven kills and a career-high seven blocks and freshman setter Avalon DeNecochea finished with a match-high 46 assists and added six digs.

It was a tightly contested first set in the beginning. Up 14-11, Cal Poly scored four straight points to take an 18-11 lead. Wichita State responded with a 6-1 run to cut the lead to 19-17. Up 20-18, the Mustangs scored three straight points to extend their lead to 23-18. After the Shockers cut the lead to 24-21, a Torrey Van Winden kill won the set for Cal Poly 25-21.

The Mustangs were red-hot in the second set, hitting .410. Tied at 6, Cal Poly went on an 11-2 run to take a 17-8 lead. The Shockers got as close as 22-19 but the Mustangs scored three straight points from there and won 25-19.

The third set was back-and-forth for the majority of the set. Neither team held a lead more than four and separated themselves until, tied at 20, Wichita State scored three straight points to take a 23-20 lead. Cal Poly then recorded back-to-back points to cut the lead to one and force the Shockers to call timeout. Following the timeout, Wichita State scored two points in a row to win the set 25-22.

The beginning of the fourth set was similar to the third, with both teams trading points. Neither team was able to make a run until, tied at 16, the Mustangs separated themselves with seven straight points to take a 23-16 lead. Up 24-19, Torrey Van Winden's 21st kill won the match for Cal Poly. The Mustangs hit .433 in the set to take control of the set and win it 25-19.

After about a three-hour break, Cal Poly returned to the North Texas Volleyball Center to take on the host Mean Green (4-11) in the tournament finale.

It was a very close first set all the way through, with neither team leading by more than two until the final point. Late in the set tied at 22, Cal Poly was able to break through. Three straight attack errors by North Texas gave the Mustangs a 25-22 win. Cal Poly was able to hold the Mean Green to a .154 hitting percentage while hitting .220.

The Mustangs found their groove in the second set as they hit .317 and led by as much as 10 at one point. They began the set by getting out to an 11-4 lead and eventually extended that to 15-5. Up 21-12, they were able to withstand a late 6-2 run by North Texas to cut it to 23-18. However, Cal Poly went on to win the set 25-20.

The third set was similar to the first, with the two teams staying close the majority of the set. Down 10-8, the Mustangs ran off six straight points to take a 14-10 lead. The Mean Green later rallied back to tie it at 16. Up 21-20, Cal Poly scored four of the last five points via an Adlee Van Winden kill and three Torrey Van Winden kills to win the set 25-21 and finish off the sweep.

Torrey Van Winden filled the stat sheet, finishing with a match-high 22 kills, hitting .559 on 34 attacks. She also recorded her third double-double of the season by adding 11 digs, three aces and three blocks. Adlee Van Winden added 10 kills and six digs while fellow senior Katherine Brouker had a match-high 20 digs. Avalon DeNecochea dished out a match-high 41 assists.

For their strong performances, Torrey Van Winden was named Tournament MVP while Adlee Van Winden and Avalon DeNecochea were both named to the All-Tournament team.

"I was pleased with how our group continued our energy and focus on the court after last week against UCLA," Cal Poly head coach Sam Crosson said. "It's good to play in these tournaments and play competitive teams. I liked how we competed this weekend and battled through adversity at times and continually find ways to win in matches that challenge us."

With non-conference play now over, Cal Poly prepares to begin Big West starting next week. The Mustangs open against UC Davis Tuesday, September 18 at 5 p.m. at Mott Athletics Center. Cal Poly will be looking to repeat as conference champions for the first time since they did it in 2006-07 after finishing a perfect 16-0 last season.

The Aggies (8-4) are coming off a 3-1 road loss to Arizona. They are led by senior Emily Allen, who is averaging a team-high 4.53 kills per set, fourth-highest in the Big West. They also boast the Big West dig leader in senior Malia Bolko, who averages 5.38 digs per set.

"Conference matches, everyone knows everyone so it should be a good match," Crosson added. "The girls are looking forward to getting back to Mott to open conference play in front of our fans."

Links for tickets, audio, video and live stats for that match can be found on the schedule page or via the GoPoly Front Row App.