Cal Poly’s historic season ends in NCAA Tournament

Posted at 3:37 PM, May 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-03 19:54:47-04

Despite a hard-fought effort by all five Cal poly beach volleyball pairings in both of its matches, the No. 6 Mustangs’ historic season came to an end Friday after they were eliminated from the NCAA Tournament in Gulf Shores, Ala following losses to No. 3 Florida State and No. 7 Hawai’i.

The Mustangs (25-12) fell to the Seminoles (29-5) 3-0 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, moving them to the elimination side of the bracket. They then dropped their match against the Rainbow Wahine (27-10) 3-0, eliminating them from the tournament.

In the first match of the day against FSU, which made it to last year’s national championship match, Cal Poly came out fighting. The Mustangs’ No. 2 pairing of junior Emily Sonny and sophomore Macy Gordon won their first set 21-14 and appeared to be on their way to winning the match as they were ahead 16-14 at the time the match was called.

The Seminoles took down Cal Poly’s No. 1 pairing of senior Crissy Jones and sophomore Tia Miric 21-12, 21-14, the No. 4 pairing of junior Samantha Manley and freshman Delaney Peranich 21-14, 21-12 and the No. 5 pairing of junior Brayden Gruenewald and freshman Vanessa Roscoe 21-17, 21-14 to win the match 3-0.

That loss meant they moved to the elimination portion of the bracket to take on Big West foe Hawai’i. Heading into the match, the Mustangs had beat the Rainbow Wahine all three times they faced them during the season, including twice during the Big West Tournament to win their first Big West title. Those wins were the first over Hawai’i in the history of the program.

With it being the fourth time the two faced each other, both teams knew each other’s styles well and it showed on Friday. The most a first set was decided by in the five matches was six points.

The Mustangs’ No. 5 pairing of Gruenewald and Roscoe won their first set 21-18. Hawai’i then took the next set 15-21 to force a third where it would be called before it finished. The Mustangs’ No. 1 pairing of Jones and Miric also went three sets with Cal Poly winning the second set 21-17 to force the third where it was also called before it could finish.

The Rainbow Wahine won the other three matches in straight sets. They won at the No. 3 position 21-15, 21-16. They then won at the No. 4 spot 21-17, 21-18 to go up 2-0. They later clinched the match with a 21-19, 21-17 win at the No. 2 pairing.

Though Cal Poly’s season came to an end Friday, the Mustangs accomplished things in 2019 that had never been done before in the history of the program. They became the first team in program history to both win the Big West Championship and make the NCAA Tournament. They also posted a second season in a row with 25+ which is also just the second time in program history that has been done.  They also had 12 wins this season over teams ranked in the AVCA Top 20, the most in a single season in program history.

Much to be proud of this 2019 Cal Poly beach volleyball team for. They will lose three players to graduation, Crissy Jones, Kat Wright, and Sam Manley.

Provided by Cal Poly