The CSUN women’s volleyball team split its last two matches, beating Bakersfield in four games on Thursday, but then losing to Long Beach State in three games Saturday night.
The Matadors lost more than the match on Saturday, though.
Along with being swept by the Long Beach State 49ers at the Matadome, CSUN also lost junior opposite Jenn Probert to a knee injury late in the third game.
Probert’s injury occurred when she went off a Long Beach block for her eighth kill of the game, but she landed awkwardly and fell to the ground holding her right knee in pain.
“It was horrible,” junior outside hitter Harmony Burdine said.
The Matadors led 26-19 after Probert’s kill, then got another point off a swing by junior middle blocker Val Kepler. Long Beach answered by winning the next five sets to force a CSUN timeout. Freshmen Lynda Morales and Brittany Williams retuned a Long Beach attack following the break, but the 49ers won the next two sets to force another Matador timeout, then Long Beach closed out the match with a bang, winning the final four sets to seal the sweep.
“We just started falling apart,” Burdine said. “We couldn’t put ourselves back together and it was frustrating.”
CSUN led game one by as many as five points. Long Beach stayed in the match and with the Matadors leading 21-18, won the next four sets to take the lead and force a CSUN timeout. The 49ers continued to roll, winning four of the next six sets to lead 26-23 and force another Matador timeout. Long Beach closed out game one by winning four of the last five sets.
Game two was close from the beginning. The score was tied at 15 until Long Beach won the next six sets to lead 21-15. CSUN responded by winning the next three sets to cut the lead in half, but Long Beach responded by winning three straight sets to restore its six-point lead. CSUN fought on, but Long Beach was able to hold its lead, winning game two 30-27.
Long Beach’s Alexis Crimes led the way with 21 kills while Nicole Moore had 10 kills. Williams led CSUN with nine kills, junior setter Kayla Wright and sophomore Angela Hupp had 17 assists each, junior libero Amy Hultner had 18 digs and Burdine had 15 digs.
Head coach Jeff Stork pointed out to the Matadors’ sideouts as the sticking point in the loss. CSUN had a 60 percent sideout percentage in game one and it went downhill from then on, as the Matadors sided out 51 percent in game two and 50 percent in game three.
“It seems like it always comes down to the same thing, our ability to terminate the ball,” Stork said.
Thursday’s match gave CSUN a break from conference action with the Matadors beating Bakersfield in four games, 30-23, 25-30, 30-21, 30-24 at the Matadome.
Junior Val Kepler had a team-high 14 kills while hitting at a .542 clip. Kepler also put up eight blocks and served three aces. Freshman Brittany Williams added nine kills while hitting at .269 and sophmore Angela Hupp posted eight kills. Kayla Wright had 24 assists and Amy Hultner had 14 digs.
CSUN’s blocking continues to be a major factor, as the Matadors had a season-high 36 block assists, the most since 2001, when rally-scoring began.
For Bakersfield, Sarah Norman had a double-double with a match-high 19 kills and 15 digs, followed by Rosemary Stribling, Jodi Hardin and Melissa Myers, all with eight kills.
The Matadors will return to the court on Friday, as they host the Pacific Tigers, followed by another match against UC Davis on Saturday. Both matches start at 7 p.m.
Do you have more to say than a comment? Want any feedback from the writer? Story ideas? Click on The Gripevine.