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No. 16 Mustangs Face Final Big West Road Matches This Week

No. 16 Mustangs Face Final Big West Road Matches This Week

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — The Cal Poly volleyball team will finish the road portion of its Big West schedule this week when it travels to UC Davis on Thursday and UC Irvine on Saturday.

First serve for the match against UC Davis is set for 7 p.m. Saturday's match against UC Irvine is set to start at 5 p.m. and will air on ESPN3. Links to watch both matches and follow live stats can be found above or on the schedule page.

The No. 16 Mustangs are coming off two sweeps last week. They began the week by sweeping the Anteaters (15-10, 7-4 BWC) at Mott Athletics Center before going to UC Santa Barbara and sweeping the Gauchos Friday. They currently sit in first place in the Big West, a full match ahead of second-place Hawai'i.

For its efforts last week, Cal Poly won all three Big West volleyball weekly awards. Junior opposite hitter Torrey Van Winden earned Player of the Week honors, senior libero Katherine Brouker earned Defensive Player of the Week and freshman setter Avalon DeNecochea earned Freshman of the Week.

Van Winden averaged 6.33 kills per set and 4.00 digs per set on the way to her ninth and tenth double-doubles of the season for her fourth Player of the Week award this season. Brouker averaged 5.17 digs per set, recording double-digit dig numbers in both matches. For the season, she has finished with double-figures in digs in 21 of Cal Poly's 23 matches. DeNecochea directed the Mustangs' offense to a .279 hitting percentage for the week in the two sweeps. She averaged 11.83 assists and was solid defensively, averaging 2.17 digs per set. She also recorded her second double-double of the year against UCSB with 32 assists and 10 digs.

Cal Poly won the first meeting of the season via a sweep against the Aggies (16-9, 8-5 BWC), which was the Big West opener for both teams. UC Davis is coming off two sweeps over Cal State Fullerton and UC Riverside last week. The Aggies lead the Big West in both opponent hitting percentage (.178) and digs (17.20 digs per set). The Mustangs lead the all-time series 16-12.

After sweeping the Anteaters last week in the first meeting of the season, Cal Poly will look to sweep the season series with UC Irvine for the fourth consecutive year. The Anteaters are coming off a weekend which they lost to UC Riverside and beat Cal State Fullerton. UC Irvine is second in the Big West in opponent hitting percentage (.187) and senior libero Haley DeSales is second in the conference in digs with 4.71. The Mustangs lead the all-time series 47-18.

Going into this week's matches, the Mustangs have won 20 of their last 21 matches this season.

Mustangs No. 16 In AVCA Top 25: Cal Poly moved up one spot in this week's is AVCA Top 25 Poll to No. 16 after being No. 17 last week. Previously, it was No. 11 which was the highest ranking for the Mustangs since 2008, when they were ranked No. 10 in the preseason poll. 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.

In the most recent RPI Poll released by the NCAA, Cal Poly ranks No. 22 in the nation.

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.

BEST START IN PROGRAM HISTORY: The Mustangs started the season 19-1. That is the best start in program history, eclipsing the 1985 team that began 18-1. Last year's team, which finished as the best in program history at 27-3, began 18-2 through 20 matches.

DOWN GO THE BRUINS: The wins over the No. 9 UCLA earlier this season were 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 and the third all-time.

CROSSON HITS CENTURY MARK: Seventh year head coach Sam Crosson recorded his 100th career win earlier this season in a home win against UC Davis. In doing so, he became the fourth head coach in program history to reach the century mark.

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: Cal Poly has won 19 straight matches at Mott Athletics Center, the longest streak in program history. The Mustangs last lost at home Oct. 28, 2016.

STRONG IN CONFERENCE: Dating back to 2016, the Mustangs are 26-1 in Big West matches. The only loss in that span came in a road match against Hawai'i on October 26. Last season, they finished a perfect 16-0 for the first time in program history.

GET OUT THE BROOM STICKS: 14 of Cal Poly's 21 wins this season have come via sweeps, including nine of its first 12 Big West matches and have only dropped five sets in conference play so far. Last season, 20 of the Mustangs' 27 wins came via the sweep and only lost eight sets in Big West play.

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 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 true freshmen and two transfers, one from Duke and one from Pepperdine.

MUSTANGS AMONG NATIONAL AND CONFERENCE LEADERS: Cal Poly, which boasts one of the most prolific offenses in the nation, leads the Big West in hitting percentage (.292) (seventh in the nation), kills per set (13.80) (39th in the nation), is second in blocks per set (2.31) and assists (12.91).

Individually, Torrey Van Winden is second in the Big West in kills (5.08 per set), good for fourth in the nation and first in hitting percentage (.369), 37th in the nation. Sophomore Madilyn Mercer is third in the conference in blocks (1.13 per set), freshman setter Avalon DeNecochea is second in the Big West in assists (10.32 per set) and senior libero Katherine Brouker is second in the Big West in digs (5.07 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 3.93.

She is also fourth in program history in career digs with 1,485.

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 and is on track to surpass both those totals this season.

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 have one match remaining that will air on ESPN3. The next will be Poly's road match against UC Irvine November 10 at 7 p.m. That match 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:

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.