The Cal Poly volleyball team (17-6, 7-3 Big West) downed Irvine (5-16, 1-7 Big West) in three quick sets Saturday night. Only one night after looking sluggish in a victory over Cal State Northridge, it was a completely different team that took the court against the Anteaters, head coach Jon Stevenson said.

“Our coaching staff said some things in the locker room last night that weren’t so easy on the ears, but they were true,” Stevenson said. “They took what we said to heart and showed up ready to go. They did a number on a really good team.”

He said Irvine’s record does not reflect how good of a team the Anteaters are and that his team had to play extraordinarily well to win the match.

Sophomore Holly Franks was the star of the match, Stevenson said. She had seven kills on just 12 swings while committing only one error.

“The difference maker tonight was Holly Franks and then Jennifer Keddy and everyone else was really consistent,” Stevenson said.

Keddy led the way for the Mustangs with 14 kills and a hitting percentage of .542. She seemed more enthusiastic following the game against Northridge, celebrating after big points.

“We came out with more energy,” Keddy said. “We really wanted to win.”

Junior setter Sarah Cawrse anchored the Mustangs’ passing attack, as she racked up 40 of the team’s 47 assists. Cawrse took matters into her own hands on the final point, and instead of dishing the ball to the middle, she surprised the Anteaters by rising over the net to slam the ball home.

Freshman Kristina Graven’s streak of nine consecutive double-doubles was snapped on Saturday night, but she still added 11 kills and eight digs to her total.

The only Anteater with double-digit kills was Juliane Piggott, although she took 37 swings and had five errors, resulting in a .135 hitting percentage.

The Mustangs head into a pivotal stretch of Big West play with a conference championship on their mind, Stevenson said, but they will have to get through the top two teams — Cal State Fullerton and Long Beach State — away from home next weekend.

“We’ve got to win those matches,” Stevenson said. “To win our conference we have to win out. We said we needed eight in a row and right now we’re at two. So six more.”

The Mustangs take on Long Beach State on Friday, then Cal State Fullerton on Sunday. The team returns home on Nov. 12 to face Pacific in Mott Gym.

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