Inconsistency gives CSUN another split weekend

Kerstin Gupilan

Forward Cameron Sims, seen here in Wednesday match against the UC Davis Aggies, scored the lone goal for the Matadors in Saturday’s loss against the Cal Poly Mustangs. Photo Credit: Caitilin McCarrick / Staff photographer
Forward Cameron Sims, seen here in Wednesday match against the UC Davis Aggies, scored the lone goal for the Matadors in Saturday’s loss against the Cal Poly Mustangs. Photo Credit: Alan Fassonaki / Staff photographer

If teams in the Big West were to be compared to candy, the Northridge women’s volleyball team (7-15, 3-6 Big West) would definitely be a box of chocolates, hugely due to the fact that you never know what you’re going to get.

It was another mixed weekend for the Matadors as they defeated Pacific (15-5, 5-4) in a five-set thriller before dropping three straight to UC Davis (16-7, 7-2).

The victory over Pacific snaps a five-set losing streak of five games for the Matadors, with Northridge handing the Tigers scores of 25-23, 19-25, 30-28, 20-25, 17-15.

“We played well at times where it was critical, especially the third and fifth set,” said head coach Jeff Stork of the win over Pacific.

During the first set both teams struggled to find an offensive rhythm with each team hitting below a .100 clip. Northridge did just enough right to take the first set.

The second set belonged outright to the Tigers, even with the Matadors overcoming a 22-14 deficit to bring Northridge within five at 19-24. Pacific closed the doors to tie the match at a set apiece.

The third and highly crucial third set was a tossup for either team, with Pacific leading by no more than three points. After four set points and with the score knotted at 28, two consecutive Pacific attack errors capped off by an Angela Hupp kill would give the Matadors a 2-1 set advantage.

Even up by a set, Northridge was handed something more heart-wrenching than a defeat when freshman outside hitter Britney Graff sustained an injury while trying to save the ball after being blocked on an attack attempt.

“In the third set we played with composure and got a lot of help from different players,” Stork said after the Graff injury. “With Janet Alvarado stepping in for Graff, and especially Cynthia Ortiz’s jump serves.”

The Tigers were able to keep their errors to a minimum and kept a comfortable lead over the Matadors for most of the fourth set taking the set 25-20.

Pacific opened up an early 6-3 lead in the fifth match before Northridge went on a 7-3 run to take the lead at 10-9. From then on the Tigers would not lead by more than two points.

The score would tie once more at 15 before a Brittany Williams kill followed by a Hupp kill would close the match.

The Matadors out blocked the Tigers 16.0-10.0 with junior middle blocker Chelsea Johnson leading Northridge with 10 total blocks, two solo, and senior Tela Burnett notching 5 total blocks of her own, one solo from the same position.

Williams knocked down a team-high 20 kills, and Graff recorded her seventh double-double of the season with 16 kills and 12 digs. Hupp notched her team-leading 17th double-double of the season with 13 kills and 31 assists.

The match against Davis proved to be something entirely different for the Matadors, after going five sets with the Aggies during their initial meeting. This time around, Davis swept Northridge, decked out in pink ribbons, headbands and socks in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, by scores of 26-24, 25-19, 25-17.

“Davis is a better team than Pacific,” Stork said. “(Their) first contact is very good. They capitalized on our slow transition … and they don’t give you many points.”

Set one was the only set the Matadors would come close to defeating the Aggies, even taking an early 10-6 lead. From then on the Aggies would take the lead, only leading by as many as two, before winning the set at 26-24.

During set two the score stayed pretty much even until at 17-16, in favor for the Aggies, Davis set off on consecutive offensive runs and capitalized on Matador errors to take the set easily at 25-19.

The final set deeply resembled the second with the score keeping within a few points. With Davis leading at 11-10, the Aggies set off a six-point run that would help them to hold the Matadors from scoring more than seven more points.

With the Aggies leading 20-14, Northridge would only score three more points before a reception error would hand Davis the set and the match.

“(The Pacific game) was awesome,” Hupp said. “(We) felt so good coming into today … which might not have been good for us … (We) expected the same unity and excitement.”

Hupp was the only Matador to reach double digits in kills with 12 for the loss. Junior Lynda Morales added eight kills.

Next up for the Matadors is a home match against non-conference opponent Cal State Bakersfield next Friday at the Matadome.