By Aaron Salazar
The Cal Poly Pomona volleyball team will head into its first California Collegiate Athletic Association playoffs with an overall record of 16-12 and a conference record of 12-8.
The Broncos will matchup against the San Francisco State Gators on Thursday at noon in La Jolla, California in the CCAA playoffs. The tournament is single elimination and will run through Saturday with all games taking place at the RIMAC Arena in La Jolla.
Last week, the Broncos split their final two games of the season. On Wednesday, the Broncos lost 3-2 to the Cal State Los Angeles Golden Eagles at Kellogg Arena but bounced back to defeat the Cal State Monterey Bay Otters 3-0 on Saturday at The Kelp Bed in Seaside, California.
On Wednesday, CPP suffered a five-set loss to the Golden Eagles on Senior Day at Kellogg Arena.
Senior outside hitter Kirsten Rutledge, who is a member of the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program at CPP, noted how special it was for her to be able to play on Veteran’s Day.
“It is really exciting to play on Veteran’s Day because it is such an important day,” said Rutledge. “Another thing that made this day special, at least for me, is that my mom came to support us, and she is a veteran and so is my dad. It was just a really special moment [for me].”
Rutledge, senior setter Nicoletta Stork, senior libero Zoe Herrera, senior middle blocker Alexa Hasen and senior middle blocker Christen Williams completed their eligibility with the Broncos and were recognized before the game.
The Broncos were on a mission early and punished the Golden Eagles in the first set. The Broncos were firing on all cylinders and ran away with set one, with a score of 25-12.
Set two started out the same, as the Broncos jumped out to an early 7-2 lead. The Golden Eagles were able to battle back to tie it at 13-13 before eventually winning the set 25-23.
Set three was a tough one to lose for the Broncos. The Golden Eagles returned the favor and jumped out to a 7-2 lead, but the Broncos continued to battle back and tied it at 20-20 after a 7-4 run. The game would see another tie at 26-26 before the Golden Eagles secured the last two points and the set 28-26.
The Broncos were able to secure a win in set four 25-17, but They could not hold on in set five, as the Golden Eagles took the set and the match 15-12.
“In the team meeting, [after the game], we were just talking about staying confident,” said Stork. “We beat them in pretty much every stat, so it is kind of hard not to be confident for that, but we need to learn from this and not let teams get unnecessary runs that we can stop.”
Head Coach Rosie Wegrich echoed the point of the Broncos outplaying the Golden Eagles.
“I said [to the team] the statistics do not tell the story,” said Wegrich. “We outplayed them statistically in every category.”
The Broncos did lead in every category except the one that mattered, the scoreboard.
Freshman middle blocker Kristen Hamlin, who is coming off a CCAA player of the week nod, broke her career kills record of 20 by posting 21 in the contest.
Stork posted a triple double in the contest logging 12 kills, 26 assists and 15 digs.
On Saturday, CPP was in Seaside challenging the Otters of Cal State Monterey Bay in the final match of the season. The Green and Gold secured a three-set victory with scores of 25-21, 28-26 and 25-15.
Courtesy of Trent Preston / Bronco Athletics
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