The Cal State Northridge women’s volleyball team was handed their fourth loss in the last five matches in a five-set heartbreaker by the Roadrunners of Cal State Bakersfield last Wednesday.
“I think the team is extremely disappointed in the results,” CSUN head coach Jeff Stork said. “They tried really hard and (CSUB) did things and capitalized on it well, but that doesn’t diminish our disappointment. We just need to stick to our guns.”
Northridge will get the chance to whip out their pistols and hopefully hit the target when they kick off a three-game homestead. First up the Matadors will play No. 23 UC Irvine Tuesday night.
Last season the Anteaters (13-3, 3-1 Big West) were able to beat the Matadors (4-11, 0-2 Big West) both times in four sets. UCI is coming off of an ego-boosting win over UC Davis giving the Aggies their first conference loss of the season, and another win against Pacific. Both opponents that Northridge was unsuccessful against.
Irvine has brought in rookie head coach Paula Weishoff to hopefully lead the Anteaters to another successful season. So far Irvine has gone undefeated at home and has split on the road, which will hopefully work in the Matadors favor.
“I respect coach Stork as a player and a coach,” Weishoff said of competing against the conference’s experienced head coaches. “They (Northridge) are a very good team—well coached. We just need to do what we need to do on our side of the net. I expect it to be a good match.”
Junior outside hitter Juliane Piggott is a player CSUN should watch out for. Piggott is tops on the team with kills list with 167 for the season, hitting at .231 percent.
Other than changing from a 5-1 to a 6-2 offense, which gives the Matadors an extra hitter in the front row by positioning two different setters in the back row, CSUN has not changed their game plan.
“We’re approaching (the match) the same way, we’ll train, watch video and look at them tactically,” said Stork.
Stork also said that the team will have to prepare against the predominantly outside hitting team who also boast a couple strong servers.
For Matador Britney Graff the match against Irvine is another chance to prove that Northridge works hard and deserves a win.
“We’re a really good team and we practice really well, we just need to find a way to bring it to the game,” said the freshmen outside hitter who’s steadily becoming a dominant force at the net offensively.
Graff’s teammate, Angela Hupp, also sees this as the perfect opportunity to show what the team is made of.
“I’m excited about the match because I’ve played with a lot of the girls (from Irvine),” said the senior outside hitter. “(But) I’m ready to leave it all on the court and give it all I’ve got. We don’t have another match till two days later, so I’ll have time to recover.”