GULF SHORES, Ala. - The Cal Poly beach volleyball team made history Friday by winning its first beach volleyball NCAA Championship match in program history after beating the No. 6 seed Stanford in dramatic fashion 3-2 to advance to Saturday in the NCAA Championship in Gulf Shores, Ala.
The No. 7 seed Mustangs (24-10) beat the Cardinal 3-2 to stay alive in the double-elimination tournament after falling to No. 2 seed USC earlier in the day Friday 0-3.
Cal Poly will now face UCLA on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. PT (2:30 p.m. CT) on ESPN2 and ESPN3.com for an elimination match. If the Mustangs win, they will face the winner of LSU/Florida State at 3:30 p.m. PT (5:30 p.m. CT) on ESPN2 and ESPN3.com.
In the first match of the day against the No. 2 Trojans, USC started with a win at the No. 2 spot over Amy Ozee and Jayelin Lombard 21-12, 21-18. They then picked up their second point of the match at the No. 5 spot over Vanessa Roscoe and Josie Ulrich 21-15, 21-14. The Trojans later clinched the dual with a 21-13, 21-17 victory at the No. 1 spot over Emily Sonny and Macy Gordon. The other two matches went unfinished as they were still going on at the time the match was clinched.
The loss to USC sent Cal Poly to the elimination side of the bracket where they faced the No. 6 seed Stanford a couple hours later in a must-win match that would come down to the wire.
Against the Cardinal, Stanford got on the board first with a win at the No. 2 spot 21-14, 21-15. The Mustangs' No. 3 pairing of Mariah Whalen and Tia Miric evened the score soon after with a 21-18, 21-13 victory. The win was their eighth in a row and improved their record this season to 16-8.
Cal Poly's No. 4 duo of Eleonore Johansen and Sam Strah gave the Mustangs a 2-1 lead in the dual after winning two close sets 21-19, 21-19. They are now 12-8 together this season.
Both of the matches at the No. 1 and No. 5 spots went to three sets and finished within seconds of each other. Finishing first by less than 10 seconds was the No. 1 spot in which Stanford won it 21-16, 20-22, 15-8.Beach Volleyball celebration vs. Stanford NCAA Championship 5-7-21
Seconds later, Cal Poly's No. 5 duo of Vanessa Roscoe and Josie Ulrich won three sets that were absolute battles. The Cardinal took the first set 27-25 before Roscoe and Ulrich came back in the second with a vengeance to win it 21-11. In the third set that is first to 15 points winning by two, it took six match points but tied at 19, Roscoe and Ulrich fought to win two in a row and clinch the dual match victory for the Mustangs 3-2.
Roscoe and Ulrich improved their record together this season to 14-12.
That now sets up a match against No. 1 UCLA Saturday. The Bruins are the back-to-back NCAA Champions and have beat Cal Poly both times the two teams played this season. The first was 5-0 back on March 4. The Mustangs nearly took the second match this season on April 17 but ended up losing 2-3. Cal Poly will be looking for the program's first win over UCLA.
If the Mustangs beat UCLA and advance to play the winner of LSU/Florida State, they would also be looking for the program's first-ever win over either school. The Mustangs are 0-3 all-time against the Seminoles, losing to them 0-5 earlier this season. Cal Poly has never faced LSU.
Article courtesy of Cal Poly Athletics