Women’s volleyball 2016 season in review


CSUN women’s volleyball prepare a block against UCSB on 9/30/16. Photo credit: Alejandro Aranda

Stacey Arevalo

The 2016 season left the CSUN women’s volleyball team tied for fifth place in the Big West Conference with UC Davis and UC Irvine all at 7-9.

CSUN had improved by finishing with an overall record of 11-17, said assistant coach Noelle Rooke, who is also proud of the team’s increase in strength.

“Our libero, Katie Sato and defensive specialists, Kristey Markle and Erin Indermill kept us in a lot of matches,” Rooke said. “Aeryn Owens, who became a six-rotation player made tremendous strides as a blocker in the front row and an attacker out of the back row and Lauren Conati [showed] her vocal leadership.”

Although the Matadors were unable to clinch the conference title, they did receive four top honors in the 2016 Big West Women’s Volleyball All-Conference Team.

Many players on the team earned awards given by the Big West Conference. Owens, the team’s sophomore outside hitter, earned a spot on the First Team while Julie Haake and Sato obtained honorable mentions. Melissa Eaglin, a middle blocker, was acknowledged earning a spot on the All-Freshman Team.

“I have teammates who are always there to support me no matter what the circumstances are,” Eaglin said. “If I could go back, I would probably want to push myself harder.”

At home, the Matadors struggled to win with an overall record of 3-5, but tied their wins on the road in conference play with 4-4. A home victory over UC Irvine, nevertheless, ended up being the most memorable for several players.

“We came back from being down and it was a great team effort. Everyone played their hearts out and it was just a fun experience,” Sato said.

Conati also said it showed the team’s perseverance and as a result, they all felt great about the wins.

This season also bid farewell to the team’s two senior players, Haake who finished second in kills with 359, and setter Maddie Leiphardt who reached a season high of 12 digs against Cal State Fullerton.

“I was just trying to soak this whole season in, as it was my last,” Haake said. “I learned a lot about being a leader and that no matter what, you’re always going to have eyes on you… so it’s important to set a good example.”

Next year, Rooke hopes to see an eagerness and hunger from the team to train hard and showcase a stronger mental outlook. Many like Conati who reached the 1,500 career assists milestone this season, say they plan to step up and reach higher.

“I’m fixing my shoulder so I can play my best and hopefully take the Big West Championship title for my senior year…Next up is 2,000!” Conati said.