Another week, another two-match split for the CSUN women’s volleyball team.
CSUN began its brief two-match road trip with a win over the UC Riverside Highlanders on Friday and started out strong in its match against the UC Irvine Anteaters on Saturday before Irvine came back to take the match.
“The Big West is an extremely competitive conference,” said head coach Jeff Stork. “You have to be at the top of your game every single match. There are no freebies in this conference.”
The Matadors swept the Highlanders on Friday night, though that task was hardly easy. CSUN won its three games by scores of 30-27, 30-27 and 30-28. The Matadors were led by junior middle blocker Val Kepler and freshmen outside hitters Alex Johnson and Brittany Williams. All three players had 10 kills in the match.
Junior setter Kayla Wright had 16 assists and 15 digs, Sophomore Angela Hupp had 30 assists and junior libero Amy Hultner had 12 digs.
For Riverside, Angie Mitchell was the only Anteater in double-digits in kills, with 11 for the match. Brittney Murray had 33 assists and Kimberly McNeal had 11 digs.
The Matadors’ next stop was Irvine to face the third-place Anteaters at Crawford Court. CSUN got off to a good start, taking the first game 30-25, but things went south from there, as the Anteaters took game two 30-17, game three 30-20 and held off the Matadors for a 30-26 game four win to take the match.
“They definitely came back and played a lot harder,” Hultner said. “They’re a good team and they put up a good fight.”
Junior opposite Jenn Probert was the only Matador that reached double-digits in kills with 11. Hupp had 23 assists, Wright had 12 assists and Hultner had 13 digs.
For the Anteaters, Kari Pestolesi had 24 kills and 13 digs, Lauren Kellerman had 19 kills and 12 digs, Kristin Kelley had 13 kills, Devon Sutherland had 22 kills and Caroline Kim had 12 digs.
The Matadors return to the Matadome for a four-game home stand, its longest of the season. CSUN will take a brief break from conference play when they host the Cal State Bakersfield Roadrunners on Thursday night, then jump right back into conference action Saturday night with a key matchup against the second-ranked Long Beach State 49ers. Both games are at 7 p.m.
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