The women’s volleyball team closed out its pre-conference tournament schedule without a win in three matches at the USD Tournament at Jenny Craig Pavilion in San Diego this past weekend.
CSUN was swept by UCLA, USD and Pittsburgh in the tournament and dropped to a 3-9 record.
Head coach Jeff Stork said the team was struggling to find consistency in the lineup.
“We thought we were going into San Diego with a pretty good setup for the team,” Stork said.” It just didn’t go as well as we had hoped.”
On Friday, the Matadors opened tournament play against the fifth-ranked UCLA Bruins. UCLA won the match in three games by scores of 30-16, 30-24 and 30-18.
The Bruins hit a season-best .325, while holding the Matadors to .137. UCLA also scored nine service aces to CSUN’s two.
Sophomore outside hitter Angela Hupp had a team-high nine kills and 15 assists, while freshman outside hitter Alex Johnson recorded seven kills and eight digs. Junior middle blocker Val Kepler added five kills and libero Amy Hultner recorded 18 digs.
For the Bruins, junior Ali Daley recorded a match-high 17 kills and served three aces, while junior Kaitlin Sather posted her third double-double of the season with 12 kills and 11 digs. Senior Rachell Johnson had 11 kills and hit .588.
In their first match on Saturday, the Matadors were swept by the 18th-ranked San Diego Toreros, 30-14, 30-23, and 30-27.
For CSUN, Kepler had a team-high 10 kills, hit .368 and added four blocks. Junior outside hitter Kristy Nua added seven kills while hitting .190 and freshman outside hitter Brittany Williams knocked down six kills while hitting .235. Johnson had four kills, six digs and four blocks.
The Matadors hit just .175 as a team in the match while USD hit .358. CSUN hit -.029 in the first game, but improved to .308 in game two and .241 in game three.
For USD, senior Laurel Abrahamson had a match-high 16 kills, hitting .423 and sohomore outside hitter Amy DeGroot had a double-double, with 15 kills and 11 digs.
In CSUN’s third and final match of the tournament against Pittsburgh, the Matadors lost their fifth straight match, as the Panthers took it in three games, 30-19, 30-28, and 30-26.
For CSUN, Johnson tallied a team-high 11 kills, hit .267 and had nine digs, just missing a double-double. Kepler had eight kills and hit .353 while Williams and Nua each added six kills. Hultner had a team-high 13 digs and Kelley Hanson had two aces in the loss.
For Pittsburgh, junior outside hitter Kelly Campbell had 15 kills while hitting .333, followed by sophomore middle hitter Meagan Dooley with 14 (.312) and senior outside hitter Diana Andreyko (.233) adding 11. Pittsburgh setter freshman Emily Burke posted 47 assists and sophomore libero Michelle Rossi had a match-high 21 digs.
The Panthers held CSUN to a .167 hitting percentage in the match.
CSUN has played several top-ranked teams during pre-conference and Stork said the tournament schedule has been very tough.
“There were opportunities for us to do better than we did, within a game, within a match,” Stork said. “Those opportunities have presented themselves, but didn’t go as well as we had hoped.”
The Matadors have also been playing without two of their starters: sophomore outside hitter Siara Grayson and junior outside hitter Jenn Probert, both out with injuries. Stork said he expects both to be limited for another week or two, as CSUN heads into conference play this week.
After looking at players in different positions for the last four tournaments, Stork said he is close to establishing a starting lineup for the season.
Stork said he’d like to see his team place more emphasis on playing in the moment against tougher teams.
“Maybe they think too much about the opposition and their ranking,” Stork said.
Meanwhile, Stork said he thinks his team has been traveling well, training hard and preparing well. He said it’ll be nice to get into conference play.
“We’ll try to work things out this week in training and try to get ready for Santa Barbara and Cal Poly,” Stork said.
The Matadors will begin their conference schedule on the road, heading to Santa Barbara on Friday for a match at 7 p.m. On Saturday, CSUN will play No. 20 Cal Poly at 3 p.m. in San Luis Obispo.
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