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No. 15 Mustangs Host Final Regular Season Matches Friday, Saturday

No. 15 Mustangs Host Final Regular Season Matches Friday, Saturday

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — The Cal Poly volleyball team, which currently sits in first place in the Big West, will have a chance to clinch its second consecutive Big West title this weekend when its hosts its final two matches of the regular season.

The No. 15 Mustangs (23-2, 13-1 BWC) host UC Riverside Friday at 7 p.m. from Mott Athletics Center for Faculty-Staff Appreciation Night. All Cal Poly faculty and staff receive up to four free admission tickets to the match. They then host Cal State Fullerton Saturday at 7 p.m. on Senior Night. The two seniors on the team, Katherine Brouker and Adlee Van Winden will both have their careers celebrated before the match. Saturday is also a 'double-up Saturday'. If you have a ticket to the football game that day, you get in to the volleyball for free.

Cal Poly currently holds a one-match lead over Hawai'i. If the Rainbow Wahine were to win-out, the Mustangs have a chance to clinch at least a share of the Big West title and a berth in the NCAA Tournament for the second straight season Friday. They then would have a chance a to win an outright championship with a win Saturday.

If they win the Big West this season, it will be the second season in a row they have won the conference title. The last time Cal Poly did that was in 2006-2007. It would also be the fifth Big West title in program history.

Going into Friday's match, the Mustangs have won 29 of its last 30 Big West matches. They have also won 19 consecutive home matches dating back to 2016.

Cal Poly is coming off two road sweeps last week. They first took down UC Davis 3-0 Thursday by sets scores of 25-16, 25-7, 25-17, which was the first time this season the Mustangs have held a team to less than 10 points in a set. They then swept UC Irvine Saturday for their 16th sweep of the season.

Both of the seniors that will be recognized Saturday have had stellar careers at Cal Poly. Katherine Brouker, who has been a three-year starter, leads the team in digs this season, ranks fourth in program history in both career digs per set and total digs. She is also on pace to finish this season with the sixth-highest single season digs per set average in school history. A three-time Big West Defensive Player of the Week award winner, she will also finish her career having played in all but two possible sets during her four-years.

A four-year starter, Adlee Van Winden has been a Big West First Team All-Conference selection twice in her career and is the only Mustang since 2010 to be named Big West Freshman of the Year. She is ninth in program history in career kills per set and led the team in kills in both her freshman and sophomore seasons. She is also sixth in program history in career kills and has been one of the most durable players in program history, having started every match of her career and never missed a set. This season, she is eighth in the conference and second on the team in kills at 2.90 per set.

The Highlanders (9-17, 4-10 BWC) are coming off a five-set win over CSUN last weekend. As a team, they rank second in the conference in digs at 16.77 per set. Sophomore libero Nicole Rodriguez, who was named Big West Defensive Player of the Week this past week, leads the team in digs and is sixth in the conference at 3.99 per set. Cal Poly leads the all-time season series 27-8 and has not lost to the Highlanders since 2013.

The Titans (6-21, 0-14 BWC) are coming off a 3-1 loss to Long Beach State. Junior Felicia Marshall leads the team in kills and is 10th in the Big West at 2.73 per set. Cal Poly leads the all-time series 55-10 and has not lost to Cal State Fullerton since 2013.

Mustangs No. 15 In AVCA Top 25: Cal Poly moved up one spot in this week's is AVCA Top 25 Poll to No. 15 after being No. 16 last week. Earlier this season, The Mustangs were ranked 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 this season, 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. 19 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.

Overall for his career at Cal Poly, Crosson has a 112-82 record.

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: The Mustangs are 29-1 in Big West matches the past two seasons. 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: 16 of Cal Poly's 23 wins this season have come via sweeps, including 11 of its 14 Big West matches and have only dropped five sets in conference play. 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) (35th in the nation), assists (12.92), blocks per set (2.44) and opponent hitting percentage (.180).

Individually, Torrey Van Winden is second in the Big West in kills (5.12 per set), good for third in the nation and first in hitting percentage (.364), 44th in the nation. Sophomore Madilyn Mercer leads the conference in blocks (1.11 per set), freshman setter Avalon DeNecochea is second in the Big West in assists (10.33 per set) and senior libero Katherine Brouker is fourth in the Big West in digs (4.95 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 3.95.

She is also fourth in program history in career digs with 1,515.

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 ninth in program history for career kills per set average.

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.