By Matthew Acosta, Sept. 13, 2022

On Sept. 10, Cal Poly Pomona’s volleyball team extended their winning streak to seven games after a 3-1 set victory over the San Francisco State Gators. Outside hitter Madison Novak, who had back-to-back dominating performances this weekend, led the Broncos to an improved 7-1 on the season and 2-0 in conference play.

The Broncos started off the match well by leading throughout the entirety of the first set. Struggling to separate, Novak and middle blocker Erin McFarland performed a momentum-shifting double block which led to the win of the set.

The Broncos took advantage of each opponent service mistake and a serve receive error that the Gators gifted them, coasting to a 25-17 set victory.

After the sluggish first set start, Tamiya Wilson got the Gators back on track. Wilson dominated the entire set and was easily spotted as the best player on the court during this stretch, leading her team to an early 11-6 set lead.

Opposite side hitter Daisy Duke mentioned the need to contain Wilson if the Broncos wished to win the match.

“We needed to get better closes on the block and better touches in order to shut Wilson down,” said Duke.

The Broncos fired back in the middle of the set with some stellar defense from their front three. McFarland did her best to halt the early Gator momentum, being involved in double blocks and racking up back-to-back kills to set the Broncos within one point of the lead.

The Broncos and the Gators exchanged the lead all the way through the set. However, the Broncos’ costly service errors spoiled the potential for a clean sweep of the Gators as San Francisco State took advantage and won the set with a quick, striking ace.

The Broncos came out of the third set visibly confident and turned their fortunes around with some stellar kills by outside hitter Samantha Campion, which led to a quick 10-4 lead that forced a Gator timeout.

Courtesy of CPP Athletics

This run continued with the Broncos pushing their set lead to 15-5, completely shutting down the Gator offense with a combination of aces and great defense by the back row.

As the lead continued to build, Novak put the icing on the cake for this set with a massive, nearly-10-foot kill that was heard throughout the gym. This continued as Novak ended the set with the same dominant kill to gain the 2-1 set lead for the Broncos.

“I remember going up to Katie and telling her to push me all the way out to the line,” said Novak after recalling moments before the kill. “I will bang this ball.”

If the Gators had any wish to come back, it had to be in the fourth set. Wilson obliged, picking up from her previously dominant second set and scoring some electric back row kills.

This time around though, Wilson was not alone in the Gator offense with Alhana Velasquez finally coming alive late in the match. Duke and Novak matched this effort by once again going point for point with the Gators.

The fourth set brought out the best of both teams’ defenses and offenses as they battled for every point. It wasn’t until a double block from setter Caitie Mueller and middle blocker Kaitlan Tucker brought some extra energy to the Broncos for their efforts to take control.

This energy, along with a service error quickly after, helped the Broncos to build a bigger, 21-17 lead over the Gators. Duke also emerged late in the match with a huge kill that stunned the Gator back row.

The Broncos’ blockers’ stellar performance and double block struck once again as the set ended with a block and a kill that landed in the dead center of the Gators defense.

The Broncos finished up the weekend with two wins, winning both games 3-1 against Cal State Monterey Bay as well as this last match against the San Francisco State Gators.

Though the team is on a hot start for the season, head coach Traci Dahl stated that her team is ready for the long road ahead.

“We don’t talk about our record, and we keep the focus going forward,” said Dahl. “7-1 is great, we don’t discount that. But each time we take the court, this team finds something new about themselves, and that is exciting.”

CPP will return home to host a match against the Azusa Pacific Cougars on Tuesday, Sept. 13. The game can also be streamed on the California Collegiate Athletic Association website as well as on BroncoAthletics.com.

Feature Image Courtesy of CPP Athletics.

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