The Highlanders volleyball team (9-18, 4-11) went on the road Friday, Nov. 16 to face the Cal Poly Mustangs (24-2, 14-1) in San Luis Obispo. After facing Cal State Northridge and coming out on top 3-2, UCR was hoping to pull out the same magic against the Mustangs. Sadly, it wasn’t in the cards as the Highlanders were swept 3-0.
The Highlanders had a rough start to the match, allowing five straight points for the Mustangs as the home team never looked back. The first set continued like this, with the Mustangs increasing their lead and the Highlanders struggling to keep up until the first set ended 25-17 in Cal Poly’s favor.
The Highlanders had an even worse start to the second set as the Mustangs were able to put up eight straight points before UCR could even think and the Mustangs had at least a 10 point lead throughout the majority of the set before winning it 25-11.
The final set of the match wasn’t as bad as the previous one, but it wasn’t as good as the first either. The two teams started the set trading blows. At first, the Highlanders lagged behind by two or three points, but once they made it to ten points the team hit a rut and let the Mustangs score seven points. From here it was all downhill, as the Highlanders were only able to score four more points before the Mustangs scored the eight points they needed to end the final set at 14-25. With the Mustangs winning all three sets they won the match leaving the Highlanders with 3-0 loss in their second to last game.
Although the Highlanders lost the match, the players played their heart out and tried their best to finish with dignity. Freshman outside hitter Marissa Holt finished the match with the most kills for the team overall with nine, senior setter Chelsea Doyle had the most assists with 17 and redshirt sophomore defensive specialist Nicole Rodriguez showed her defensive skill with eight digs. The girls suffered a loss but they played with grit and tried their best against a very strong team, that has caused everyone in the Big West conference problems in the past.