Montana Earns 39-7 Victory Over Cal Poly in Big Sky Opener

MISSOULA, Mont. -- Montana quarterback Cam Humphrey passed for 215 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Griz to a 39-7 victory over Cal Poly in the Big Sky Conference opener for both schools Saturday in Washington-Grizzly Stadium.

On a warm afternoon in Big Sky Country, Humphrey, the transfer from Boise State completed 15 of 24 passes as Montana accumulated 354 total yards.

Cal Poly averted a shutout in the fourth quarter when Shakobe Harper ran two yards with 10:12 to play.

Montana opened the scoring with a 65-yard pass from Humphrey to Samuel Akem with 6:31 remaining in the first quarter.

Less than a minute later, Justin Belknap intercepted a Conor Bruce pass and returned it 24 yards for a touchdown. A two-point conversion run by Mitch Roberts gave the Griz a 15-0 lead.

Kevin Macias kicked a 24-yard field goal with 10:53 left in the second quarter and Montana took an 18-0 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Malik Flowers returned the kickoff opening the second half 95 yards for a touchdown, extending Montana's lead to 25-0.

Humphrey his Joel Elwell with a 23-yard scoring pass and a 32-0 Montana advantage with 3:59 remaining in the third period.

Levi Janacaro recovered a blocked Cal Poly punt in the end zone for another touchdown and a 39-0 Montana lead with 3:26 to go in the third period.

Cal Poly averted what would have been its first shutout in four seasons, marching 58 yards on 10 plays. A 17-yard pass from Kahliq Paulette to Quentin Harrison set up Harper's two-yard scoring run. Jaden Ohlsen added the extra point and the Mustangs trailed 39-7 with 10:12 to play.

Bruce made his first collegiate start for Cal Poly and completed 16 of 30 passes for 183 yards before leaving the game with an injury late in the second quarter.

Paulette finished up and connected on 12 of 23 passes for 100 yards.

Cal Poly managed 47 yards on the ground, led by Chuby Dunu with 25 yards on nine carries. Cal Poly's top receivers were Chris Coleman and Michael Roth, each with five.

Laipelu Palu garnered 11 tackles, including a sack.

Cal Poly (1-3) hosts four-time Big Sky champion Weber State next Saturday at 5:05 p.m. inside Alex G. Spanos Stadium.

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

Volleyball Rallies to Beat Cal State Fullerton in Five-Sets Saturday, 3-2

FULLERTON, Calif. — Redshirt senior outside hitter Jamie Stivers and junior setter Avalon DeNecochea recorded double-doubles to help the Cal Poly volleyball team rally from down in sets 2-1 and comeback to beat Cal State Fullerton 3-2 (25-19, 26-28, 23-25, 26-24, 15-10) on the road Saturday night to stay unbeaten in Big West play.

It was a career-high setting night for multiple Mustangs. Stivers led Cal Poly in kills with 19 and had a career-high 23 digs for her third consecutive match recording a double-double. DeNecochea dished out a career-high 62 assists and added 11 digs. Junior middle blocker Meredith Phillips had a career-high 15 kills while redshirt freshman outside hitter Tommi Stockham also added 15 kills and seven digs. Fellow redshirt freshman Amy Hiatt had career-highs of 11 kills and five blocks. Redshirt freshman middle blocker Kate Slack tied her career-highs with eight kills and a team-leading six blocks.

Defensively, freshman libero Peyton Dueck led the team in digs with a career-high 28 while junior defensive specialist Lea Ungar had a career-high 23 digs and fellow junior defensive specialist Taylor Rose had a career-high 15 digs.

As a team the Mustangs (4-9, 2-0 BWC) were strong defensively, holding the Titans (4-5, 1-1 BWC) to a .128 hitting percentage and had 12 blocks.

The first set was tight early, with the teams going back-and-forth. With Cal Poly leading 11-10, the Mustangs scored five straight points to go up by six. Fullerton cut the lead to as little as three at 21-18 before Cal Poly finished the set on a 4-1 run to win it 25-19.

The Mustangs took a 5-2 lead to begin the second set before a 7-2 run by the Titans gave them a 9-7 lead and later went ahead 14-9. Cal Poly then responded with a 6-1 run to tie it at 15. Tied at 19, Fullerton scored three consecutive points before the Mustangs answered with four straight points to regain the lead 23-22. However, the Titans later held off three set points for Cal Poly and tied at 26, back-to-back kills by Fullerton’s Gabrielle Barcelos won it for them 28-26.

In the third set tied at 4, Cal Poly went ahead 8-5 after a 4-1 run. The Mustangs later went up by five points after scoring three straight points ahead 10-8. Trailing 17-13 later in the set, Fullerton scored five unanswered points to take the lead 18-17. The two teams went back-and-forth from there until, tied at 23, the Titans scored two back-to-back points to win the set 25-23.

Fullerton started the fourth set by getting out to a 7-3 lead. Cal Poly rallied with a 5-1 run to tie it at 8. Tied at 14 later in the set, the Mustangs scored three straight points before the Titans followed up with a 7-2 run to go ahead 21-19. Cal Poly then scored three consecutive points to regain the lead 22-21. Tied at 24, a kill by Stivers followed up with a block by Phillips and DeNecochea won the set for the Mustangs 26-24.

Cal Poly scored the first four points of the fifth set and later took a 7-3 lead. Fullerton cut the lead to one at 9-8 after a 5-2 run before Cal Poly went ahead 12-9. Up 12-10, the Mustangs clinched the match after scoring three straight points to win it 15-10. In the fifth set alone, Cal Poly held the Titans to a .043 hitting percentage and sided-out at a 72-percent clip.

The win is Cal Poly’s first in a five-set match this year in three tries. It also keeps them unbeaten in conference play at 2-0.

The Mustangs will look to stay unbeaten in Big West play next weekend when they host Central Coast rival UC Santa Barbara on Friday, Oct. 1 at 7 p.m. followed by CSUN on Saturday, Oct. 2 at 2 p.m.

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

Mustangs Open Big West Play With Sweep of Long Beach State

LONG BEACH, Calif. — Redshirt senior outside hitter Jamie Stivers recorded her fourth double-double of the season and five Mustangs had at least five kills as the Cal Poly volleyball team opened Big West play Friday by sweeping Long Beach State 3-0 (25-17, 25-23, 25-19) on the road.

Stivers led the Mustangs (3-9, 1-0 BWC) with a match-high 10 kills while also adding 10 digs and three blocks. It is her sixth straight match with double-digit kills. Junior setter Avalon DeNecochea dished out 32 assists to go along with seven blocks and four digs. Junior middle blocker Meredith Phillips had a season-high eight blocks while also contributing five kills. Freshman libero Peyton Dueck led Cal Poly in digs with 15 while junior defensive specialist Lea Ungar had a season-high 13 digs on the night.

Defense was the key for the Mustangs in the match. Cal Poly held Long Beach State (6-6, 0-1 BWC) to a .052 hitting percentage while also recording a season-high 13 blocks as a team.

In the first set alone, Cal Poly held Long Beach State to a -.051 hitting percentage and had seven blocks. The Mustangs started the set by getting out to a 4-1 lead. After Long Beach State rallied to take a 9-7 lead, Cal Poly went on a 7-1 run to go up 14-10. Leading 15-12, the Mustangs pulled away by scoring four straight points. Up 21-17, Cal Poly ended the set on a 4-0 run to win it 25-17.

Long Beach State flipped the script from the first set, starting off the second set getting out to a 4-1 lead. Down 6-3, Cal Poly scored three straight points to tie it at 6. They went back-and-forth from there until, with the Mustangs trailing 18-15, Cal Poly scored six consecutive points to take the lead 21-18. Long Beach State then regained the lead after going on a 4-1 run down 22-19 to tie it at 23. From there, the Mustangs scored back-to-back points to take the set 25-23.

Cal Poly scored the first four points of the third set to force an early Long Beach State timeout. Up 11-9, the Mustangs scored four consecutive points to go ahead by six. After Long Beach State cut the lead to 20-16, Cal Poly scored three straight points to pull away 23-16 and went on to clinch the sweep 25-19.

With the win, the Mustangs are now 45-4 in conference matches since 2017.

Cal Poly will look to improve that record Saturday when the Mustangs travel to Cal State Fullerton to face the Titans at 5 p.m.

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

Brian Wong, Katie Cross Win King and Queen of the Pool for Cal Poly

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Cal Poly junior men’s swimmer Brian Wong and sophomore women’s swimmer Katie Cross won the titles of ‘King and Queen of the Pool’ for the Mustangs at the annual Queen and King of the Pool pentathlon hosted with Cal Friday morning at Anderson Aquatic Center.

This is the first time Cross has won the title of ‘Queen of the Pool’ while it is the second time winning ‘King of the Pool’ for Wong after he won it as a freshman in 2019.

Cross finished the pentathlon with an overall time of 5:05.66, good for an overall finish of 22nd. She placed 15th in the 100 backstroke with a time of 59.48, 17th in the 100 IM with a time of 1:00.62, 22nd in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:09.37, 25th in the 100 free with a time of 54.95, and 35th in the 100 butterfly with a time of 1:01.24.

Wong finished with an overall time of 4:23.37, good for 15th place overall. That time also eclipsed his 2019 time of 4:29.62. He placed 10th in the 100 free with a time of 50.24, 14th in the 100 breast with a time of 59.20, 15th in the 100 back with a time of 51.86, 19th in the 100 IM with a time of 53.49, and 30th in the 100 free with a time of 48.58.

Some other notable swims included senior Gennady Sytnik’s seventh place finish in the men’s 100 back with a time of 50.07, junior Ryan Iannaccone’s ninth place finish in the men’s 100 free with a time of 46.66, sophomore Junie Leigh Carlos’ 13th place finish in the women’s back with a time of 59.27, and freshman Didi Djatej’s 16th place finish in the 100 breast with a time of 1:08.03.

Cal, whose men’s team finished second in the NCAA Championships and women’s team finished fourth in the NCAA Championships last season, was paced by senior Hugo Gonzalez on the men’s side and senior Isabel Ivey on the women’s side. Both Gonzalez and Ivey finished first overall in the meet with times of 4:05.15 and 4:39.91.

Next up for Cal Poly is the annual Green vs. Gold meet on Friday, Oct. 1 at 6 p.m. from Anderson Aquatic Center.

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

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

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