No. 10 Cal Poly Defeats Oklahoma in Five-Set Victory


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NORMAN, Okla. - Senior opposite Kylie Atherstone recorded a match-high 19 kills and the No. 10 Cal Poly volleyball team held host Oklahoma to a combined .106 hitting percentage during the fourth and fifth sets, as the Mustangs completed the Sooner Legends/Nike Invitational Saturday afternoon with a 25-16, 19-25, 22-25, 25-16, 15-11 win at McCasland Field House.

Junior middle blocker Gaby Rivera added 15 kills and hit .361 while junior setter Hailey Fithian recorded a career-best 58 assists for Cal Poly (2-1), which posted its second five-set victory within a 24-hour span. The Mustangs opened both the 2008 campaign and the Sooner Legends/Nike Invitational Friday with a five-set loss to Wichita State before rebounding to post a 3-2 win versus Michigan State.

Cal Poly led Saturday's opening set wire-to-wire, utilizing three kills apiece from Atherstone and senior Ali Waller to build a 10-3 lead. A Rivera kill provided Cal Poly its initial double-digit edge at 16-6 and the Mustangs failed to lead by less than eight points down the stretch.

The Sooners (1-2), who earned 15 votes in the preseason edition AVCA Division I Coaches Poll, responded in set No. 2 by compiling a quick 9-4 lead and keeping the Mustangs at bay en route to leveling the match. Despite never trailing by more than four points in the third set, Cal Poly was still held to a .182 hitting percentage.

The Mustangs, however, trailed just once during the remainder of the match, using a .419 hitting percentage during the fourth set to extend the contest and four Atherstone (above) kills in the fifth game to defeat the Sooners.

Waller finished with 14 kills for Cal Poly, while senior middle blocker Jaclyn Houston compiled 10 and hit .429. Cal Poly's .274 hitting percentage was 151 points higher than Oklahoma's team mark.

Atherstone and Rivera were each selected to the Sooner Legends/Nike Invitational all-tournament team. Atherstone averaged 3.27 kills per three invitational matches while Rivera hit a combined .324.

The Mustangs return to the central coast to host the initial Paso Robles Marriott Invitational, scheduled for Sept. 5-6 in Mott Gym. Cal Poly begins the round-robin competition Friday against Tulane at 10 a.m. before squaring off against No. 7 and 2006 NCAA Tournament champion Nebraska at 7:30 p.m. Cal Poly completes the competition Saturday, Sept. 6 versus Northeastern at 3:30 p.m.

Article courtesy of Cal Poly athletics.

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