The No. 20 Cal Poly volleyball team continues its three-game Big West Conference-opening road trip at UC Irvine and Long Beach State this weekend.

The Mustangs (9-4, 1-0) look to stay undefeated and atop the Big West standings against a pair of teams they swept on the road last season. Cal Poly has never started Big West play with three consecutive victories and hasn’t started 3-0 within a conference since 1985 when, as a member of the Pacific Coast Athletic Association, the Mustangs defeated UC Irvine, Cal State Fullerton and Long Beach State as a prelude to a 7-0 start. The matches will be played at UCI’s Crawford Court and LBSU’s Walter Pyramid, both scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

Mustangs reach highest national ranking in seven years

Cal Poly garnered 358 points in the Sept. 25 AVCA/CSTV Division I poll to move up one spot to No. 20 – the program’s best mark since being slotted 20th by Volleyball Magazine during the 1999 season. Cal Poly broke into the AVCA/CSTV poll’s 25th spot Sept. 5 and progressed two spots in each of the ensuing two weeks. No. 1 Nebraska garnered 1,480 votes and 46 of the 60 first-place votes to retain the pole position, followed by Penn State, UCLA, Washington and USC. Cal Poly is currently the lone Big West school in the top 25 after Long Beach State fell out of the poll following a Sept. 21 3-0 loss at non-conference Sacramento State.

Giant killers

Cal Poly’s sophomore outside hitter duo of Kylie Atherstone and Alicia Waller currently rank first and second, respectively, in kills and kills per game among Big West players. Atherstone has recorded 241 kills to outdistance Waller’s 221. Atherstone averages 4.30 kills per game compared to Waller’s 3.95.

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