IRVINE, Calif. — Junior opposite hitter Torrey Van Winden and freshman setter Avalon DeNecochea both recorded double-doubles as the Cal Poly volleyball team swept UC Irvine (25-23, 25-23, 25-23) Saturday at the Bren Events Center in its final Big West road match to remain in sole possession of first place in the conference.
Van Winden finished with a match-high 22 kills, hitting .300 and 10 digs for her 11th double-double of the season. It is the ninth time this season she has recorded 20 or more kills in a match. DeNecochea dished out a match-high 34 assists and 10 digs for her third double-double of the year. Senior Adlee Van Winden added eight kills, 10 digs and three blocks, senior libero Katherine Brouker had a match-high 19 digs and sophomore Madilyn Mercer chipped in seven kills, hitting .455 and four blocks to pace Cal Poly.
The win is the 15th sweep of the season for the No. 16 Mustangs (23-2, 13-1 BWC) and is the fourth consecutive season they have swept the season series over the Anteaters (16-11, 10-5 BWC).
Cal Poly held the statistical advantage in hitting percentage (.271 to .198), kills (47 to 44), assists (43 to 40), blocks (10 to nine) and digs (58 to 50) on its way to the victory.
"I thought we served well tonight," head coach Sam Crosson said. "We were also able to negate their middle blockers' swings and blocked well."
The first set began close as both teams traded points and small runs. Up 10-9, Cal Poly went on a 7-2 run to break away and take a 17-11 lead. UC Irvine made a comeback later in the set with a 5-2 run to cut the lead to 21-18. The Mustangs responded with back-to-back points to make it 23-18. The Anteaters then came back with a 5-1 run to make it 24-23. However, a mishit by UC Irvine gave the first set to Cal Poly 25-23. For the set, Torrey Van Winden had seven kills, hitting .500 and as a team the Mustangs hit .395.
In a set that saw eight ties and three lead changes, the Anteaters took a 5-2 lead out of the gates to begin the second. Cal Poly made its run down 6-3 with a 6-2 run to take its first lead of the set at 9-8. Tied at 11, UC Irvine bounced back, scoring four consecutive points to take a 15-11 lead. After two consecutive points by the Mustangs to get it to 15-13, The Anteaters went on another run, 5-1, to take a 20-14 lead. Following a Cal Poly timeout, the Mustangs regained the momentum by scoring four straight points to trim the lead to 20-18. With UC Irvine up 21-18, Cal Poly responded with a 5-1 run to take a 23-22 lead. After the Anteaters tied it at 23, back-to-back kills by Torrey Van Winden, two of her eight for the set, secured the win for the Mustangs 25-23.
Cal Poly got out to a hot start to begin the third set, scoring the first four points and eventually taking a 9-3 lead. After UC Irvine was able to cut the lead to 13-10, the Mustangs regained control of the set with a 6-3 run to take a 19-13 lead. The Anteaters then bounced back with four straight points to cut it to 19-17. Up 21-19, the Mustangs went on a 3-1 run to have match point at 24-20. After a call was overturned that would have ended the match for Cal Poly, UC Irvine scored three straight points to cut the lead to one. However, Torrey Van Winden's 22nd kill of the match completed the sweep for the Mustangs.
Cal Poly now returns home for its final two home matches of the season next weekend. The Mustangs will first host UC Riverside Friday at 7 p.m. where they will have a chance to clinch at least a share of the Big West title and berth in the NCAA Tournament. They then host Cal State Fullerton Saturday at 7 p.m. for senior night where both Adlee Van Winden and Katherine Brouker will have their careers celebrated. For tickets to either of those matches, click here.
"I know the girls are excited to be home next weekend for senior night in front of the fans and clinch a Big West title and NCAA Tournament berth," Crosson said. "Hopefully we get a lot of support next weekend and the fans come out to celebrate Adlee (Van Winden) and (Katherine) Brouker Saturday."
Photo courtesy of Owen Main | fansmanship.com