Race For Top Spot Tightens With Busy Week Of Big West Action Ahead
On the verge of posting their best conference start in program history, the No. 19 Cal Poly Mustangs have an unblemished 6-0 record in Big West play. Their best league opening was back in 1985 when they began the Pacific Coast Athletic Association campaign 7-0. This week the Mustangs travel to Pacific (10/19) and Cal State Northridge (10/21) to face both the Tigers and the Matadors for the first time this season. Pacific owns the series over the Mustangs at 43-9, while CSUN holds a 20-16 edge over Cal Poly.
The Matadors, who stand in second place in the league with a 5-1 record, have posted their best Big West start since joining the conference in 2001. This week Cal State Northridge faces their toughest challenge of its schedule as they host nationally-ranked Cal Poly and defending co-champions UC Santa Barbara. The Matadors are only 3-21 against the Gauchos, with their last win coming in 2003.
Sitting in third place in the conference with a 4-1 record are the Long Beach State 49ers, who carry a four-match win streak into their five-contest road trip that begins this weekend at Cal State Fullerton (10/20) and UC Riverside (10/21). Over the years LBSU has dominated both teams with the 49ers leading the Titan series 69-4 and the Highlander matchup 23-3. In fact, Cal State Fullerton is winless against the 49ers since Brian Gimmilaro took over the reigns at LBSUin 1984.
Battling for fourth place are UC Santa Barbara and Pacific, who have both tallied a 3-3 record in league play. The two teams face off Saturday evening at the Alex G. Spanos Center. Prior to Saturday evening's contest, the Tigers host Cal Poly for a Thursday-night showdown, while the Gauchos hit the road for a matchup against Cal State Northridge before visiting the Tigers in Stockton, Calif.
After posting a an 11-1 record in nonconference action, Cal State Fullerton has struggled since entering Big West play as they have only won two of their past seven matches. The Titans look to turn things around as they host Long Beach State (10/20) and UC Irvine (10/21) this week.
Prior to the contest against the Titans, UC Irvine travels to UC Riverside for a battle of two winless teams in league play. The Anteaters are 0-4, while the Highlanders are 0-7 in Big West competition. UC Riverside also hosts Long Beach State on Saturday night.