Matadors come back from 2-game deficit to beat Davis, can’t repeat it against Pacific

Ivan Yeo

The CSUN women’s volleyball team spent its weekend in Northern California attempting to rally from 2-0 deficits.

The Matadors were successful in their first attempt against UC Davis on Friday night and came close to repeating that feat against University of the Pacific the following night, though they still fell in four games.

“I think we’re fortunate to be 1-1 considering what almost happened at Davis and what could’ve happened at Pacific,” head coach Jeff Stork said.

Through the first two games, UC Davis hardly resembled a team that was 3-14, 0-6 in the Big West Conference heading into Friday’s match. The Aggies won the first two games by scores of 30-26 and 30-25. CSUN broke through with a 30-25 win in game three, then battled the Aggies to sudden death in game four before prevailing 34-32.

In game five, UC Davis held a two-point advantage in the game’s latter stages, but CSUN once again fought back to force sudden death. Once again, they came through, this time taking the fifth game 16-14 and escaping the Pavilion with the win.

“They gave us all sorts of problems,” Stork said of UC Davis. “I’m not sure if we took them a little bit lightly, but certainly they played well.”

Junior middle blocker Val Kepler had a stellar night against the Aggies, posting 17 kills and 11 blocks. Junior outside hitter Harmony Burdine had 11 kills and junior opposite Jenn Probert had 10.

Five Matadors reached double-digits in digs, led by 19 digs from sophomore Angela Hupp, who returned to the team after missing the last three weeks due to illness.

“I think she did very well,” Stork said of Hupp. “There was a little bit of rust going on against Davis… I think her setting was a little bit rusty, but the hitting, I was very happy with, and the blocking. She was very good. It’s good to have her back.”

The Matador’s next stop was Stockton for a Saturday night matchup with the Pacific Tigers. Pacific jumped right out of the gate, winning the first two games by scores of 30-15 and 30-20. Once again, the Matadors came charging back, winning game three 30-26 and then battled the Tigers to sudden death in game four, much like they did against the Aggies 24 hours earlier. However, the Matadors were unable to duplicate the result from the UC Davis game against Pacific, as the Tigers ended the match with a 33-31 win.

Hupp and freshman outside hitter Alex Johnson both smashed a team high 13 kills and Brittany Williams had 11 kills. Hupp also added 25 assists. Pacific had an X-factor on Saturday night though, as Svenja Engelhardt had 11 service aces to go along with 13 kills. Stork said Engelhardt was the difference Saturday night.

“She must have scored, maybe a full set,” Stork said.

The Matadors return home for two tough conference matches at the Matadome. Right out of the gate, they get the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Mustangs, who are currently ranked No. 24 in the latest coaches poll, on Friday night at 7 p.m. On Saturday the Matadors will face the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos, also at 7 p.m.

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