By Christian Ulrich, Nov. 15, 2022
On Nov. 10, Cal Poly Pomona’s volleyball team traveled to San Marcos where they defeated Stanislaus State three sets to one in the quarterfinal round of the California Collegiate Athletic Association volleyball tournament.
Riding a career-high of 25 kills from opposite side hitter Daisy Duke, CPP went on to win this match three sets to one to advance to the semifinals against Cal State San Bernardino.
Duke credited her teammates, naming setter Caitie Mueller, for her career night.
“It helps having a great setter like Caitie,” said Duke. “She put up a great ball for us all night. I think we were all on the same page tonight because we knew this was a big game, and we wanted to go out and represent CPP well. That motivation definitely helped today.”
CPP opened the match with six unanswered points, causing Lauren Flowers, the head coach for Stanislaus State, to call a time out to try and stop the bleeding. Coming out of the timeout, CPP continued by scoring two more points, putting them up eight to none early in the first set. This early attack set the tone of the game.
The Warriors then mounted a run of their own, cutting the score to 11 to seven. This run, however, would not be enough to secure a set win. CPP won the first set 25-20, leading the entire set.
The Broncos opened up the second set with the same intensity when middle blocker Kaitlan Tucker made a great early block at the net. The Broncos led three to two with Stan State still fighting for their first lead of the match.
Broncos head coach Traci Dahl said every point was a battle.
“Stanislaus State was relentless tonight,” said Dahl. “These matches are do or die, and if you lose then your season is over. They played with major heart tonight, and I do think that their 11 service errors and 11 attack errors didn’t help. Their offense struggled a bit, but they still made us work for every point,” said Dahl.
Stanislaus State took their first lead of the match in the second set at 14-13. This lead was short lived as the Broncos continued to fight, eventually tying things up at 20 apiece. CPP allowed one more point before rattling off five of their own, earning them the win at 25-21.
Mueller mentioned that the Broncos strategy leading up to the match helped them early on.
“Our coaches frequently remind us to let the other team make their errors and that we can’t let them off easy,” said Mueller. “Tonight, we utilized their mistakes and errors to help us go on big runs.”
Mueller’s 41 assists were critical down the stretch for the Broncos.
The third set proved to be different than the rest. Both teams traded points all the way to the end, coming down to the wire at 24 apiece. Ultimately a kill by Macky Morris, a Warrior outside hitter, won the set and kept things alive for Stanislaus State.
The fourth set started with an early 10 to seven lead for the Broncos. CPP continued this momentum to a set point, a score of 24-20. The Warriors pushed a late rally, scoring three straight points, within one point of a tie at 24.
The match point was a kill by Tucker, assisted by Mueller and tipped out of bounds by the Warriors, sending the Broncos to the semifinals against Cal State San Bernardino.
Dahl spoke on her team’s mentality heading into the semifinals.
“We have to just keep playing Bronco volleyball and take it one point at a time. We just have to keep bringing our game,” said Dahl.
On Nov. 11, CPP took their head coach’s challenge to heart, playing Cal State San Bernardino in San Marcos for the semifinal match. After dropping the first set, CPP reeled off three set wins in a row to advance to the CCAA tournament final against Sonoma State the next day.
On Nov. 12, CPP faced off against Sonoma State in a five-set battle for the CCAA crown. The Broncos got off to a great start winning the first two sets. Dropping the next two sets created a do or die situation: win the championship or go home. CPP won the final set 15-10, capturing the CCAA volleyball tournament title for the first time in program history.
Ranking fifth in the Division II women’s volleyball western division, CPP looks to enter the NCAA tournament.
For more information, visit the CPP women’s volleyball website.
Feature image courtesy of CPP Athletics
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