No. 21 Mustangs Sweep Denver to Advance in NCAA Tournament

No. 21 Mustangs Sweep Denver to Advance in NCAA Tournament

WESTWOOD- Behind a match-high 20 kills from sophomore outside hitter Torrey Van Winden, the Cal Poly volleyball team swept Denver in the first round of the NCAA Tournament 25-20, 25-18, 25-18 Friday inside Pauley Pavilion on the campus of UCLA to advance to the second round of the tournament.

Van Winden hit .500 in her return to UCLA after transferring from there to Cal Poly following her freshman year. Senior setter and 2017 Big West Player of the Year Taylor Nelson finished with 41 assists and nine digs. Senior outside hitter Raeann Greisen added 10 kills, hitting .643. Big West hitting percentage leader Savannah Niemen finished with eight kills, hitting .429. Junior Adlee Van Winden added eight kills and tied a team-high with 12 digs and fellow junior Katherine Brouker also finished with 12 digs.

The No. 21 Mustangs, now 27-2 on the season, outhit the Pioneers (23-6) in each of the three sets and finished with a .406 hitting percentage for the match to go along with eight service aces.

Up 5-4 in the first set, Cal Poly went on a 3-0 run thanks in part to two straight Jessica McRoskey service aces to force a Denver timeout. The Pioneers would respond with a run of their own to cut the lead to 9-8. That would be followed by a 6-2 Mustang run to take a 15-10 lead, the largest of the set. Denver would then cut the lead to 17-14 to force a Mustang timeout. Two straight Cal Poly points following the timeout would force the Pioneers to then call another timeout. Up 22-18, the Mustangs would score three of the next five points to win the set 25-20.

It would be more back-and-forth to start the second set. Up 7-6, Cal Poly went on a 7-2 run to take a 14-8 lead. The Mustangs would build a lead as big as 7. The Pioneers would cut the lead to 21-16 to force a Cal Poly timeout. The Mustangs would score four of the next six points to win the set 25-18. Torrey Van Winden posted nine of her 20 kills in the second set as Cal Poly outhit Denver .448 to .280 in the set.

Up 4-3 in the third set, Cal Poly went on a 7-3 run to go up 11-6 and force a Denver timeout. The Mustangs would extend the lead to 15-8 and force another Pioneer timeout. Cal Poly would get a lead as big as 22-11. Denver would get it as close as 24-18 before an Adlee Van Winden kill would finish the sweep to give Cal Poly its first NCAA Tournament win since 2007.

The Mustangs will now go on to play UCLA Saturday at 7 p.m. in Pauley Pavilion.

There will be a pregame party for alumni and fans to attend Saturday at Barneys Beanery from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.