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Taylor Nelson, Sam Crosson headline Cal Poly volleyball Big West - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Taylor Nelson, Sam Crosson headline Cal Poly volleyball Big West Postseason Awards

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Senior setter Taylor Nelson was named Big West Player of the Year, head coach Sam Crosson was named Big West Coach of the year and a total of seven Mustangs received all-conference first team, honorable mention and all-conference freshman team nods.

Nelson, along with fellow seniors Raeann Greisen and Savannah Niemen as well as sophomore Torrey Van Winden and junior Adlee Van Winden all were named to the All-Big West First Team. Junior libero Katherine Brouker received honorable mention honors. Freshman middle blocker Madilyn Mercer was named to the Big West All-Freshman team.

For Greisen and Nelson, this was the third time in their careers they were named to the first team. It was the second for both Adlee Van Winden and Savannah Niemen and first time receiving honorable mention for Katherine Brouker.

Nelson becomes just the second setter in 18 years, and the first Cal Poly player since 2011 to earn Big West Player of the Year distinction. Under her leadership, the Mustangs are hitting a league best .314 to rank sixth in the country and have three players ranked in the league’s top 10 in hitting percentage, including Savannah Niemen who owns the top spot with a .398 clip to sit 18th in the country.

The Granite Bay native ranks fifth in the nation in assists per set with an average of 11.90.  She currently sits third all-time at Cal Poly in assists with 4,203 and is one of only three Mustangs to ever reach the 4,000 career assist mark. Nelson recorded seven double-doubles on the year, including a 51-assist, 24-dig performance against UC Santa Barbara on November 3, a career-high mark in digs.  For her efforts this season she was named Big West Player of the Week twice.  With this year’s honor, Nelson becomes Cal Poly’s fourth Big West Player of the Year recipient (Kylie Atherstone 2006, 2007, Jennifer Keddy 2011).

In his sixth season at the helm of the Mustangs’ program, Crosson guided Cal Poly (26-2) to its first conference title in 10 years with a perfect 16-0 record. It’s the first time the Mustangs were undefeated in conference play and the 11th time in Big West history a school has posted a perfect mark in league action.  With the conference crown, Cal Poly earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2007 and 15th overall, and they enter the postseason riding a 21-match winning streak.  The Mustangs dominated their opponents while building its historic season as they swept the opposition in 19 of their 26 victories. The Mustangs’ two losses this year were against Top 25 opponents - No. 8 Washington and No. 14 Oregon.   Crosson, collecting his first Big West Coach of the Year honor, becomes the third coach in Cal Poly history to earn the coach of the year distinction as Jon Stevenson (2006, 2007) and Mike Wilton (1985, 1989) were also honored for their accomplishments.

Torrey Van Winden finished the regular season as one of the nation’s leaders in kills. She finished the regular season with a team-high 441 kills for the season, a 4.69 kills per set (third best kills per set average for a single season in Cal Poly program history), including a career-high 30 against Wichita State. She finished second in the Big West in kills and sixth in the conference in hitting percentage at .343.

Adlee Van Winden finished second on the team in kills with 318 (3.38 per set) and sixth in the Big West. She also was seventh in the conference in service aces with 28. She was also third on team in digs with 225.

Raeann Greisen was third on the team in kills with 245, finishing ninth in the Big West in hitting percentage at .293. She posted a team-high 20 kills in Cal Poly’s first ever home win against Hawai’i earlier this season.

Savannah Niemen finished the regular season as the Big West leader in hitting percentage, with a .398 average. She was also fourth on the team in kills with 198 and second in service aces with 24.

Katherine Brouker received an honorable mention nod after leading the team in digs with 371, good for fifth in the Big West. She also finished second on the team in assists with 89.

Madilyn Mercer was named to the All-Freshman after starting the final four matches of the regular season, amassing 32 kills in just 30 sets as well as 23 blocks for the highest blocks per set average on the team (.77).

To view the complete list of awards click here.

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