Cal Poly's Historic Season Comes To An End
Despite double-doubles from Taylor Nelson, Torrey Van Winden and Adlee Van Winden, the Cal Poly volleyball team's historic 2017 season and best season in program history came to an end Saturday after a hard-fought battle with UCLA inside Pauley Pavilion that ended in a four-set loss (28-26, 19-25, 16-25, 18-25) to snap the Mustangs' program record 22 match-winning streak.
Nelson, a senior, finished with 36 assists and 14 digs for her eighth double-double of the season. Torrey Van Winden finished with a team-high 16 kills and 18 digs. Junior Adlee Van Winden added 11 kills and 14 digs. Senior Raeann Greisen also finished with 11 kills and junior libero Katherine Brouker led the Mustangs in digs with 23.
The teams traded points for the beginning part of the first set until down 5-4, Cal Poly went on a 4-0 run to take an 8-5 lead. Up 9-8, the Mustangs would score four straight points to take a 13-8 lead (the largest lead of the set) and force a Bruin timeout. UCLA would score three straight points following the timeout to cut the lead to three. After trading the next few points, UCLA would make a run of their own to cut the lead to one at 17-16 and force Cal Poly to call a timeout. The Mustangs would respond by scoring two straight points following the timeout to make it 19-17. The Bruins followed that by scoring three straight points to take the lead 20-19. The teams would trade points from there until, tied at 26, Cal Poly points scored two straight points including a Torrey Van Winden service that sealed the set for the Mustangs 28-26.
UCLA got out to a 6-2 lead to begin the second set to force Cal Poly to call a timeout. The Bruins would go up by as many as six at 14-8. The Mustangs would rally to cut the lead to three at 14-11 before UCLA went on a 6-1 run to take a 20-12 lead. Cal Poly then went on a 5-1 run of its own to cut the lead to 21-17 and force a Bruin timeout. The teams would trade two-point rallies after that before, up 23-19, two straight UCLA points would finish off the set 25-19 to tie it a one set apiece.
Tied at 4 in the third, the Mustangs scored three straight points to take a 7-4 lead. The Bruins would rally to take a 12-11 lead. A 6-2 run would give the Bruins a 17-13 lead. Up 19-15, UCLA scored three straight points to take a 22-15 lead. The Bruins would go on to win the set 25-16.
Needing to win the fourth set, the Mustangs came out strong to begin the set, getting out to a 7-4 advantage. UCLA would rally back to tie it at 7. The teams would continue to go back-and-forth from there until, tied at 14, the Bruins scored five straight points to take a 19-14 lead. UCLA would not look back from there, going on to win the set 25-18 to win the match to advance to the Sweet 16.
The Bruins were led by senior Reily Buechler who finished with a match-high 26 kills and 11 digs.
The Mustangs finish their historic season with a 27-3 record. A season that included the program's first ever undefeated Big West Conference record that led to the program's first conference title and NCAA Tournament appearance and win in 10 years, first Top 25 ranking since 2008, a perfect 8-0 record at home and the longest winning streak in program history.