I was at the Cal Poly volleyball team’s intrasquad scrimmage on Saturday night, and if you read this blog a couple days ago and got the details for yourself, you might have been at Mott Gym, too.
(On a side note, if you did read the blog and decided to go see the scrimmage after reading, leave a comment. I’m interested to know.)
There weren’t a ton of people there, but it really was the last time any locals will get the chance to see the Mustangs play before Sept. 18, when they return from a three-week road trip.
I unofficially dubbed it the Rocky Mountain Road Trip last night since the team will spend three weeks between Colorado and northern Utah.
I got a lot of good quotes from the players and coach Jon Stevenson, and we’re running a more in-depth season preview in a future print edition of The Tribune, but I also wanted to give some thoughts on how the team is shaping up after the scrimmage.
It had a very intriguing start. For the first set, it was veterans facing off against the newcomers. The No. 9-ranked recruiting class in the nation taking on the returners from last season’s third-place Big West Conference finishers.
The newcomers looked impressive, taking a 10-5 lead early on. But it wouldn’t hold. The vets came back to tie the score at 18-18 before pulling away for a 25-23 win.
Dominique Olowolafe, Hailey Fithian and Ashleigh Bertoni shined for the returners. The veterans were in obvious trouble when Olowolafe rotated out, but when she was on the court, the team was better on the block, and she was money on her attacks.
For the newcomers, freshmen Molly Pon and Jennifer Keddy impressed with their attacks. Pon has a vicious jump serve, and Keddy’s was impressive, too, especially coming from a 6-3 middle blocker.
The freshmen seemed to have the most trouble receiving serves, something coach Jon Stevenson talked about after the scrimmage.
A couple of players were traded between the teams for the second set, but the one with the most veterans again erased a deficit to come back for a 25-21 victory.
The teams were much more blended in the final two sets, which both had very competitive scores. It was 25-20 in the third and 17-15 in the fourth.
Stevenson was encouraged by the close competition. It means the team has depth. It also means there still is no clear-cut starting lineup. Even the players don’t know who’s going to get the starting nod when the season tips off next Friday.