Cal Poly athletics are in full Fall form. Find out more about the games, matches and tournaments that Mustang athletes will be competing in this week and weekend with these briefs provided by the Cal Poly Athletics department.

Cal Poly Swimming & Diving Opens 2021-22 Season Friday

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — The Cal Poly men’s and women’s swimming teams will kick off their 2021-22 season Friday when hosting Cal for their annual King and Queen of the Pool pentathlon. The meet will start at 11 a.m. from Anderson Aquatics Center.

Each swimmer will take part in five 100-yard races, including butterfly, breaststroke, individual medley, backstroke and freestyle. The swimmers with the best combined time from each school will be crowned king and queen of the pool.

A perennial powerhouse in college swimming, the Cal men’s swimming team finished as the NCAA runner-up for the 11th consecutive year in 2021 while the women’ team finished fourth in the country last season.

At this past summer’s Olympic games in Tokyo, there were a total of seven women’s swimmers and four men’s swimmers from Cal competing in it.

The Mustangs return 23 swimmers & divers on the women’s side and 23 on the men’s side. Among those coming back include sophomore men’s swimmer Kieran McNulty who last season became the first Mustang to be named MPSF Freshman of the Year. In 2020-21, McNulty became the first Mustang since 2013 to win two individual conference titles. He did so at the MPSF Championships, winning the 500-yard freestyle and the 1,650-yard (one mile) freestyle events. His times in the 200 free, 500 free, 1,000 free, and 1,650 free were all the fastest on the team last year.

Also returning on the men’s side is senior Gennady Sytnik who last year broke the long-standing school record in the 100 backstroke. He broke Peter Kline’s record of 48.25 that had been held since 2011 with a time of 48.03 during last year’s MPSF Championships.

Returning on the women’s side includes senior diver Joelle Weltner, who last year broke the school record in the 1-meter dive after a score of 281.55.

Following Friday’s meet, Cal Poly will hold its annual Green vs. Gold meet on Friday, Oct. 1 at 6 p.m.

- This report was contributed by Connor Leary of Cal Poly Athletics Communications

Cal Poly Drops Back to 15th Place in Final Round of Husky Invitational

BREMERTON, Wash. -- The Cal Poly men's golf team, which jumped from 15th place into a three-way tie for 12th place in the second round Monday, slipped back into 15th place at the conclusion of the Husky Invitational on Tuesday.

Coach Phil Rowe's Mustangs carded a four-person 11-over-par 299 total on the 7,155-yard, par-72 Olympic Course at Gold Mountain. Added to the 293 and 289 rounds Monday, Cal Poly finished with a 54-hole 17-over-par 881 aggregate.

Trailing second-round leader Washington by 17 strokes entering the final round, sixth-place Nevada recorded rounds of 67, 69, 70 and 70 for a 12-under-par 276 total and caught the Huskies with 18-under-par 846 aggregates. Washington checked in with a five-over-par 293 total Tuesday.

Oregon State was third, followed by Boise State and San Jose State.

Tied for 19th place after 36 holes of play, Cal Poly's Joey Zambri slipped 10 positions after a final round 76 and finished in a tie for 29th place with a two-over-par 218 total. Mustang teammate Nicholas Mok, also in a tie for 19th place, fell to 40th with a final-round 78 and a 220 total.

Competing in his first collegiate tournament, freshman Baron Szeto parlayed six birdies into a final-round 70 and jumped 18 spots into a tie for 44th place. Also on Szeto's card were two bogeys and a double-bogey as he finished the tournament with a five-over-par 221 total.

Cal Poly's other scorers were Will Draper with a final-round 75 for a 223 total and 55th-place tie, and Luke Adam with a 78 for a 228 aggregate and a tie for 69th place.

Brandon Eyre of Oregon State moved from fifth to first on the individual leaderboard with a final-round 69 and a nine-under-par 207 total, one stroke ahead of Mikey Siesinski of Saint Mary's and RJ Manke of Washington. Siesinski finished with a 72 while Manke, the leader after 36 holes, posted a final-round 73.

There were 16 teams and 80 golfers in the field.

Mok finished first in the field in total pars with 42 while Zambri was fourth with his 14 birdies.

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In a companion tournament for individuals played on the Cascade Course, Cal Poly's Austin Liu finished in a tie for 20th place with four other golfers, all with even-par 216 totals. Liu followed Monday's 73 and 70 with another 73.

Cal Poly will compete in the Windon Invitational hosted by Northwestern on Sept. 27-28 at the Lake Shore Golf Club in Glencoe, Ill.

- This report was contributed by Eric Burdick, Cal Poly Assistant Athletics Director for Athletics Communications

Cal Poly Women's Volleyball Opens Big West Play This Weekend at Long Beach State, Fullerton

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — After finishing a tough non-conference schedule last week, the Cal Poly volleyball team will now turn its attention to starting Big West play this weekend on the road.

The Mustangs (2-9) will begin conference play Friday at Long Beach State at 7 p.m. They will then take the short drive inland to face Cal State Fullerton on Saturday at 5 p.m. Fans will be able to watch both matches live as well as follow live stats. Links for those can be found on the volleyball schedule page.

Cal Poly was put to the test during its non-conference schedule. The Mustangs faced five Top 25-ranked teams during the course of its 11 non-conference matches. Cal Poly lost all five of those matches. However, the Mustangs took No. 22 Pepperdine to five sets and No. 9 Washington to four sets despite missing their 2019 All-American Maia Dvoracek and West Virginia transfer Kristina Jordan, who averaged 2.94 kills per set in 2019 with the Mountaineers.

Leading the Mustangs so far this season offensively has been redshirt senior outside hitter Jamie Stivers. Stivers is averaging a team-leading 3.20 kills per set and 2.45 digs per set. She’s had three double-doubles and six matches with double-digit kills. Redshirt freshman outside hitter Tommi Stockham and junior middle blocker Meredith Phillips have also been strong offensively. Stockham is second on the team in kills at 2.63 per set and Phillips is third at 2.50 while hitting .321. Phillips also leads the team in blocks at 1.10 per set.

Cal Poly has also been relying on its youth this season. Of the 40 sets that have been played this season, four freshmen have played in 16 or more. Two of those freshmen, libero Peyton Dueck and middle blocker Kate Slack have started all 11 matches. Dueck is averaging a team-leading 4.20 digs per set which ranks second amongst all Big West players. Slack is averaging 1.23 kills per set and .55 blocks per set.

Long Beach State finished non-conference with a 6-5 record. Most recently they are coming off a 3-1 upset of No. 21 San Diego last Saturday. Leading Long Beach State this season offensively has been junior outside hitter Kashauna Williams, who is averaging 4.77 kills per set which ranks 12th in the nation. Long Beach State leads the all-time series 46-24. However, Cal Poly has won five out of the last six matchups.

The Titans enter Big West play with a record of 3-4 and are coming off a win over Cal Baptist last weekend. Fullerton has been led this season by sophomore outside hitter Julia Crawford. Crawford is averaging 4.04 kills per set which ranks second among all Big West players. Cal Poly leads the all-time series 58-10 and has not lost to the Titans since 2013.

Cal Poly In the Polls: In the Big West Preseason Coaches Poll, the Mustangs were picked to finish second in the conference. Cal Poly received a total of 111 points and four of the 11 first place votes. They finished just behind defending conference champion Hawai'i, who received 117 points and the other seven first place votes.

Setting Up Her Teammates: Junior setter Avalon DeNecochea currently ranks eighth in program history for career assists with 2,409. She needs 176 more assists to move into seventh place.

Her single game career high for assists is 59 which came in a 2019 match against Pepperdine.

Old and New Faces: The Mustangs return eight players from its 2019 roster while welcoming 13 newcomers to the team. Returning for the Mustangs include setter Avalon DeNecochea and middle blocker Meredith Phillips, both of whom were First Team All-Big West selections in 2019. DeNecochea averaged 9.48 assists per set, 1.62 digs per set, .62 blocks per set, and .29 aces per set in 2019. Phillips averaged 1.80 kills per set and led the team in blocks at .90 per set in 2019.

Other returners for Cal Poly include redshirt senior outside hitter Jamie Stivers, outside hitter Nicole Cavote as well as liberos/defensive specialists Lea Ungar and Taylor Rose. Stivers played in the first 10 matches of the season, averaging 2.00 kills per set before suffering a season-ending knee injury during a match against Colorado State. Cavote played in 27 sets in 2019, averaging 1.37 kills per set. Ungar played in all 110 sets in 2019 as a defensive specialist, averaging 2.12 digs per set and was even received a Big West Defensive Player of the Week honor once during the season. Rose appeared in 78 sets in 2019 as a defensive specialist, averaging 1.49 digs per set.

Meanwhile a key player from 2019, Maia Dvoracek, who was an AVCA Third-Team All-American and First Team All-Big West selection will miss the 2021 season due to a knee injury she suffered in the spring.

The 13 newcomers to the team this season include three transfers, three redshirt freshmen who were around the team in 2020, and seven true freshmen.

Strong In Conference: Since 2017, the Mustangs are 44-4 in Big West matches. That includes a perfect 16-0 record in 2017, a 15-1 record in 2018, and a 13-3 record in 2019.

Cal Poly won the Big West Conference title in 2017 and 2018 and have won the conference title a total of five times.

- This report was contributed by Connor Leary of Cal Poly Athletics Communications

Jason Anderson is the Digital Producer for the Santa Maria Times. He can be reached at 805-739-2213