One of the best Cal Poly volleyball seasons in program history came to an end Saturday night in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Big West Conference champion Mustangs fell 3-1 against No. 15 seed UCLA inside Pauley Pavilion, marking the end of a program-record 22-game winning streak that began Sept. 8.
Cal Poly fell by set scores of 28-26, 19-25, 16-25 and 18-25 to finish the season 27-3 overall — including an unbeaten 16-0 run in conference play.
The Bruins (21-10), who tied for fifth in the Pac-12 regular season standings, secured a spot in the NCAA regional semifinals next week and will play second-seeded Florida in Gainesville.
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Junior outside hitter Adlee Van Winden helped set the tone early for the Mustangs, putting down six kills on 11 attacks in a thrilling back-and-forth first set that lasted nearly 35 minutes.
UCLA took control from there, winning the next three sets in impressive fashion while limiting the Mustangs to a .178 hitting percentage — well below their season average of .316 that ranked No. 6 in country.
Van Winden finished the match with 11 kills and 14 digs. Sophomore Torrey Van Winden added a team-high 16 kills, 18 digs and two service aces.
Senior Taylor Nelson tallied 36 assists and 14 digs in the final game of her decorated career. Junior Katherine Brouker chipped in a team-high 23 digs in the setback.
The Bruins were led by senior Reily Buechler, who matched her career high with 26 kills and added 11 digs. Sarah Sponcil tallied 49 assists and 24 digs, directing the UCLA offense to a .282 hitting percentage.
Several teams seeded in the top 16 fell in the second round Saturday, including No. 8 Washington, No. 9 Creighton, No. 12 Baylor, No. 14 Iowa State and No. 16 Wichita State.