Even after fighting to come back from a 2-1 set deficit, the Cal State Northridge women’s volleyball team was unable to close the deal against the Loyola Marymount Lions, bringing the Matadors’ record to a dismal 3-7.
“I think the girls were trying real hard, they want to make changes,” head coach Jeff Stork said of Tuesday evening’s loss. “(We) always go in expecting and hoping to do well, but our hopes were dashed.”
Outside hitter Angela Hupp, who Stork referred to as the team’s backbone, had her 4th double-double in the last five games for the Matadors with 21 kills and 18 digs. Middle blocker Lynda Morales added 11 kills, while outside hitter Britney Graff, who got off to a slow start, had 10 kills and 15 digs for the night. Setter Sam Orlandini contributed 45 assists and 13 digs.
The Matadors will have the chance to improve their record this Friday when they host the Bulldogs of Fresno State University (6-3) in the first home game of the season. On Saturday, the Matadors will continue their home opening weekend with a match against the University of Portland Pilots (2-9).
Fresno rather than Portland will probably turn out to be the tougher opponent for the Matadors since the Bulldogs possess an actual record. However, Stork said his team will prepare the same way for both teams.
Unlike the match against LMU, Stork said that the Matadors will have to do a better job defensively at the net for the next two matches.
“We usually out block our opponent, not this time,” Stork said. “We were able to neutralize their big hitter. But we had trouble with the middle and right side.”
The Bulldogs, despite having lost two consecutive games in the Hornet Invitation in Sacramento, have a well-balanced team. Senior outside hitter Lacey Gera leads the teams in both kills and aces with 80 and 13, respectively. Gera also ranks second on the team in digs with 54 coming behind junior defensive specialist Kelly Mason who boats 121 digs.
Other big hitters for the Bulldogs include senior middle blocker Kelly Leonardo with 73 kills, to compliment her 38 blocks, five of which were solo, and sophomore right-side hitter Brianna Clarke who leads the team in blocks with 46, four solo, and 64 kills.
Assisting these hitters is a duo of setters, senior Allanah Munson and Gera’s sister, Lisa Gera. Munson has dished out 187 sets for kills while Lisa has contributed 121 of her own assists.
The Matadors will play Portland on Saturday, a team that statistically closely resembles that of CSUN. The majority of attacks come from junior outside hitter Jessica Clemens who has tallied 117 kills this season. Clemens also ranks both second in aces with seven and digs with 105, only to be outdone by junior libero Danielle Dupar who has 124. Clemens is also joined by her sister, Maria Clemens, a senior setter who has 86 kills and 56 digs for the season. Senior setter Kaylyn Jones has set 189 balls for kills and senior middle blocker Shelley Shivers has 32 blocks, three of which were solo.
The Matadors are looking forward to finally playing at home, as most teams are. They also hope to play better volleyball then they have been in the last few matches.
“We haven’t seen film yet (from Fresno)…but we’re more concerned with what we do on our side of the net. So we’ll watch tape from the match against LMU to make improvements,” Stork said.