Mixed results not new for CSUN

Kerstin Gupilan

Britney Graff and the Matadors came away with a split this weekend against Cal State Fullerton and Cal State Long Beach. Photo Credit: Charlie Landon / Staff Photographer
Britney Graff and the Matadors came away with a split this weekend against Cal State Fullerton and Cal State Long Beach. Photo Credit: Charlie Landon / Staff Photographer

It was another mixed-matched weekend for the Northridge women’s volleyball team as they defeated Cal State Fullerton before breaking a short-lived two-match conference win streak in a three-set loss to the No. 25 Long Beach State 49ers.

With the uneven weekend the Matadors dropped to 6-14 overall and 2-5 in the Big West Conference, only three wins way from tying last season’s overall record.

The win against the Titans also marks Northridge’s first conference road win with scores of 25-23, 25-23, 18-25, 25-18. Fullerton drops to 12-8 overall and 3-4 in conference.

During the first set, Fullerton was able to keep a couple of leads over the Matadors, with the biggest margin at 11-6. But Northridge went on to outscore the Titans 17-12 to tie the score at 23 and back-to-back Fullerton hitting errors would give Northridge the set at 25-23.

Northridge rallied a seven-point run in set two to come back from a 9-4 deficit and take the lead at 11-10. From there the score tied seven times, with a kill by Northridge outside hitter Lynda Morales closing the set at 25-23.

After hitting .162 and .178 in the first two sets, Northridge dropped to a dismal .070 hitting clip that would cause them to drop the set 18-25.

In the fourth set Fullerton took an early 8-6 lead before the Matadors set off a 7-0 run to give Northridge the lead.

With the score at 20-15 for the Matadors, three attack errors and a service error by Fullerton big hitter Erin Saddler would help score the final five points for Northridge, closing the match at 25-18.

Angela Hupp led the Matadors with 14 kills with Brittany Williams contributing 13 of her own. Britney Graff added nine kills and 17 digs and Morales had eight kills to add to her two blocks. Monica McFarland had a career-high 27 digs in the win.

The most surprising outcome of the night was that the Matadors were able to hold Big West kills leader Erin Saddler to only nine kills in the entire match.

Even though Northridge pushed the Titans to four sets, the real battle of the weekend came in the form of a three-set sweep at the hands of Long Beach. The Matadors jumped out to an early five-point lead in the first set, but would score no more than two consecutive points thereafter.

Long Beach capitalized on seven Northridge hitting errors to pull the score to 10-6. With the set winding down at 19-11, the 49ers scored five straight points before a Morales kill would be the Matadors’ last point. Morales would get called for a ball-handling error in the next play to end the set at 25-12.

During the next two sets, Northridge pushed the 49ers to the limit but were unable to knock them off the edge. Long Beach never led by more than four points, with Northridge scoring four straight points to gain the lead at 20-19.

A Northridge service error would then give Long Beach their first set point, but was then tied at 24 following a Williams kill. But a Northridge hitting error sandwiched between two Long Beach kills ended the nail-biting match at 27-25 for the 49ers.

In the third and final set, Long Beach jumped out to an early 5-0 lead. From then on the 49ers’ lead would yet again not exceed more than four points. This time around Northridge gained the first set point, which would have forced a fourth set if won. But the 49ers went on to outscore the Matadors 4-2 for the 28-26 match-ending victory.

The 49ers offense was led my Naomi Washington who tallied 14 kills, Caitlin Ledoux added 11 kills and setter Ashley Lee dished out 32 assists and 10 digs.

Williams led Northridge with 11 kills, five digs and two blocks. Morales and Hupp both had six kills, with Hupp adding nine digs and five blocks. Sam Orlandini pushed 34 assists and served up two of Northridge’s three aces.

The Matadors will host the Pacific Tigers and the UC Davis Aggies at the Matadome next weekend to kick off the second half of the season.