The Cal Poly volleyball team continued its historic run Friday with a straight-set win over Denver in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
In her return to Pauley Pavilion, Cal Poly sophomore outside hitter Torrey Van Winden, a transfer from UCLA, led the Mustangs to a 25-20, 25-18, 25-18 win over Denver (23-6) in Los Angeles to extend their winning streak to 22 games. Van Winden was on fire from the start and finished the match with 20 kills.
Big West Player of the Year Taylor Nelson set things up for the Mustangs’ efficient hitting night (.406) and finished with 41 assists and nine digs. Savannah Niemen had three of Cal Poly’s eight aces and Raeann Greisen added 10 kills.
It’s the first NCAA Tournament win for Cal Poly (27-2, 16-0 Big West) since it won its first two matches in 2007, also the last time the Mustangs played in the tournament.
Van Winden might face her old team in the second round Saturday (7 p.m.) as the undefeated Big West Conference champions will play the winner of the Friday night match between No. 15-seed UCLA and Austin Peay.
Cal Poly’s lengthiest tournament runs came in 1982, 1983, 1985 and 2007 when the Mustangs won their first two matches each of those years before falling. In 2007, Cal Poly beat Xavier and Purdue before losing to Stanford.