Big victories for Cal Poly in Big West, Colorado State in Mountain West

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Torrey Van Winden-Cal Poly-Cal Polytechnical-Mustangs
Cal Poly's Torrey Van Winden outreaches UC Irvine's Ali Koumelis on the overpass/Ed Chan, VBshots.com

Now it’s on between Cal Poly and Hawai’i in the Big West.

Tuesday night, No. 23 Cal Poly went to UC Irvine and swept the Anteaters to get to 20-2, the best start in program history, and 10-0 in the Big West.

Lurking is Hawai’i (15-6, 9-1), which heads to Cal Poly on Friday. This past October 7, Cal Poly won at Hawai’i in five.

“I like our team’s mentality,” Cal Poly coach Sam Crosson said. “We came in, continued the vibe that we had at home against Northridge and Long Beach, there was no looking past this match in terms of what’s coming up on our schedule with Hawai’i being at Poly on Friday.”

Also Tuesday, No. 20 Colorado State beat the second-place team in its league, Wyoming,  to remain unbeaten in the Mountain West.

The recaps follow, but first a look at Wednesday’s schedule, one with only 15 matches but a big one in State College, Pa., where No. 1 Penn State (19-1, 9-1 Big Ten) plays host to No. 9 Wisconsin (14-5, 5-5) as the Nittany Lions try to break a tie with idle No. 7 Nebraska (16-4, 9-1).

Also in the B1G on Wednesday, No. 5 Minnesota (19-2, 8-2) plays host to Illinois (16-5, 7-3) and Rutgers (5-17, 0-10) goes to Northwestern (12-10, 2-8).

There’s a big one in the Pac-12 as No. 12 Utah (17-4, 8-2) goes to No. 15 Oregon (13-5, 6-4) as the second-place Utes try to stay two games back of idle No. 2 Stanford (17-2, 10-0).

There are three matches in the Big 12, all involving ranked teams. No. 11 Kansas (18-3, 7-1) tries to keep pace with idle No. 3 Texas (16-2, 8-0) when it plays host to Oklahoma (5-16, 2-6), No. 22 Iowa State (14-4, 5-3) goes to Kansas State (9-12, 2-6) and No. 24 Baylor (16-5, 6-2) plays at Texas Tech (13-8, 2-6).

There are two matches in the SEC as Arkansas goes to Georgia and Missouri plays at Ole Miss, while the ACC has Louisville at Notre Dame. Louisville is a game back of the co-leaders, Pittsburgh and NC State.

Remember that VolleyballMag.com has all the TV and streaming listings every day for every match that is being shown.

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UC Irvine’s Brianna Montgomery lunges for a pass against Cal Poly/Ed Chan, VBshots.com

Cal Poly overpowers UCI: The Mustangs won 25-22, 25-20, 25-23 and have 20 victories for the first time since 2010.

“I’m really impressed with our group’s ability to understand what’s in front of them,” said Cal Poly coach Sam Crosson, whose team hit .333. I’ll use this week as an example. We came down with a mid-week match on a Monday night, we played a very good Irvine team on a Tuesday, we’re going back on the bus tonight, we’ll get back probably 1 or 2 in the morning, we have two days to prepare for Hawai’i.”

The Van Winden sisters led the way as sophomore opposite Torrey led with 18 kills, two aces and two digs, and junior outside Adlee had 11 kills, hit .346 and nine digs and a block.

“It was a really good day,” Torrey Van Winden said. “Our middles and our passers really opened up a lot for me tonight. It was really fun to get some one-on-ones and have a nice night on offense.”

Raeann Greisen added nine kills in 16 errorless swings and hit .562. She had three digs and a solo block.

“I thought we were fairly consistent, Crosson said. “ … Offensively, I thought we were pretty good overall. We made a few too many random chaotic error swings. In terms of hitting percentage we were up 300-400 percent for a while, but then in that third set we got down into the low threes-high two’s.

“We got a lot of one-on-one opportunities that we weren’t as good as we could have been, especially Torrey in the second set.

“I didn’t think that our serving in the third set was very impressive. We made a lot of errors, and a lot of errors in the net. That kept Irvine around in the third set, and it certainly made it harder for us to get separation.”

UCI got 13 kills from Idara Akpakpa, who had no errors in 21 attacks and hit .619. Harlee Kekauoha added nine kills and 10 digs.

“Irvine’s a good team,” Crosson said. “They’re in the top three in just about every statistical category in the Big West. I’m proud of our team, and our coaching staff, to come down here, and leave with a 3-0 victory.”

UCI had won six in a row.

“I was disappointed at the way we came out,” UCI coach Ashlie Hain said. “I think we had some nerves and it wasn’t until the third set that we started playing through that.

“Cal Poly is a great team with great hitters, but I think we beat ourselves for sure tonight. Hopefully we will get after it the next time we see them.”

They play again at Cal Poly on November 11. First for the Anteaters is a trip to CSUN on Friday.

Colorado State tops Cowgirls: The Rams won their 11th in a row with a 22-25, 25-16, 25-21, 25-16 victory over visiting Wyoming. Colorado State is now four games ahead of second-place Wyoming (12-11, 7-4) and all but assured of winning the regular-season title.

“That was a fantastic match,” Colorado State coach Tom Hilbert said. “I thought we played a good match against a Wyoming team that was really good at the start.”

Kirstie Hillyer led with 16 kills, hit .524 and had four blocks — one solo — and three digs. Breanna Runnels added 14 kills, three blocks — one solo — and four digs. Jasmine Hanna and Paulina Hougaard-Jensen had 11 kills each. Hougaard-Jensen hit .625 and had 10 blocks, one solo.

“We made some nice adjustments,” Hilbert said. “ …  Our middles were great, our outside hitters were great and Breana Runnels was great despite too many unforced errors. I loved the way she played night and I loved how aggressive she was. She also had a lot of really fun shots and did a nice job serving the ball as well and so did Kirstie Hillyer.

“We had some new things that happened tonight that were kind of fun. Our team competed well with the exception of the 6-point run in the first set, but I think that might have fueled our team a little bit for the rest of the match. Every time Wyoming made a charge we had an answer.”

Halie McCardle led the Cowgirls with 15 kills and hit .419. She also had 12 digs and two blocks. Wyoming also got 12 kills from Tara Traphagan, who had two blocks and two digs.

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