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No. 11 Mustangs Fall at Hawai’i in Five-Set Thriller Friday

No. 11 Mustangs Fall at Hawai’i in Five-Set Thriller Friday

HONOLULU — Despite junior Torrey Van Winden recording her eighth double-double of the season with a match-high 21 kills and 10 digs to go along with seven blocks and posting a season-high 19 blocks as a team, the Cal Poly volleyball team fell on the road to Hawai'i Friday in a five-set thriller 3-2.

The loss is just the second on the season for the No. 11 Mustangs (19-2, 9-1 BWC) and the first conference loss since 2016, bringing their 18-match win streak, program-record 26-match Big West win streak and their 12 straight Big West road win streak to an end. It was also just the Mustangs' second five-set match of the season.

Sophomore Madilyn Mercer finished one kill shy of a double-double with nine kills and a career-high 11 blocks. Freshman setter Avalon DeNecochea dished out 41 assists, added seven kills and seven kills while fellow freshman Meredith Phillips also finished with seven kills and seven blocks. Junior Jessica McRoskey also chipped in seven kills. Senior Adlee Van Winden added six kills and 11 digs and senior libero Katherine Brouker recorded a match-high 27 digs for Cal Poly.

Cal Poly got out to a fast start, taking an 8-3 advantage to begin the first set and forced Hawai'i to call timeout. Following the timeout, the Mustangs stayed hot, going on a 6-2 run to take a 14-5 lead and later tying their largest lead of the set at 11 at 18-7. From there, the Rainbow Wahine (14-6, 10-1 BWC) went on a 5-1 run to cut the lead to 19-12. Cal Poly then responded with a 6-2 run to end the set and win 25-14. As a team, the Mustangs were hitting on all cylinders in the set, hitting .471 with just two attack errors, four blocks and held Hawai'i to a .111 hitting percentage

The second set began much closer than the first, with both teams trading points in the early goings. Tied at 12, Cal Poly went on a 3-1 run to take a 15-13 lead. The Rainbow Wahine then responded with an 8-1 run to take an 21-16 lead. Hawaii did not look back from there, going on to win the set 25-19 for just the Mustangs' third dropped set in conference play this season. Statistically, the Rainbow Wahine outhit Cal Poly in the set .278 to .167.

The third set saw Hawai'i get out to the fast start. They began the set taking a 7-2 advantage. The Mustangs responded with an 8-3 run to tie it at 10. Both teams then traded 3 point runs to then tie it at 13. Tied at 15, back-to-back kills by Torrey Van Winden and a block by the Mustangs gave them an 18-15 lead and force the Rainbow Wahine to call timeout. Following the timeout, Cal Poly continued to stay hot, going on a 6-1 run to take a 24-16 lead. Up 24-17, a kill McRoskey's sixth kill of the match put the set away for the Mustangs 25-17. For the set, Cal Poly finished with eight blocks and held Hawai'i to a .000 hitting percentage.

The Rainbow Wahine started out strong again to begin the fourth set, getting out to a 7-3 lead. The Mustangs then scored three straight points to cut the lead to one. Down 13-9, Cal Poly scored four straight points to tie it at 13. After both teams traded points to tie it at 17, Hawai'i scored seven straight points to take a 24-17 lead. Up 24-18, a Rainbow Wahine kill put the set away for Hawai'i 25-18 to force a deciding fifth set.

Cal Poly began the fifth set by taking a 4-3, forcing the Rainbow Wahine to call timeout. Hawai'i then scored three straight points to take a 6-4 lead. After Cal Poly rallied back to tie it at 6, the two teams traded points to make it nine apiece. Tied at 9, the Rainbow Wahine finished the match on a 6-1 run to win the set 15-10 and the match 3-2. As a team, Hawai'i hit .526 in the deciding set.

Leading the way for Hawai'i was McKenna Granato, who finished with 17 kills as part of three players who finished the match with double-figure kill numbers. Norene Iosia was just a kill away from a triple-double with nine kills, 23 assists and 21 digs.

The loss ends a three-match win streak for the Mustangs over the Rainbow Wahine. Cal Poly now sits in second place in the Big West, just half a match behind Hawai'i.

Up next for the Mustangs, they will host UC Irvine Tuesday, October 30 at 7 p.m. at Mott Athletics Center. It will be the first time this season Cal Poly has played the Anteaters. To purchase tickets to that match, click here.