CSUN women’s volleyball ends four-game losing streak with win against Cal Poly

The+CSUN+womens+volleyball+team+celebrating+the+win+against+Cal+Poly+Mustangs+in+the+Matadome+in+Northridge%2C+Calif.%2C+on+Friday%2C+Nov.+5%2C+2021.

Christopher Riscen

The CSUN women’s volleyball team celebrating the win against Cal Poly Mustangs in the Matadome in Northridge, Calif., on Friday, Nov. 5, 2021.

Randy Acosta, Reporter

CSUN women’s volleyball defeated the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Mustangs for the first time in seven years on Friday. The Mustangs have won the last 11 meetings against the Matadors heading into this bout, but were toppled in four sets.

CSUN got off to a fast start as they took a 3-0 lead early in the contest with the first point of the match coming off of a block from CSUN middle blocker Lauryn Anderson and the second from an ace by CSUN setter Carisa Barron. The Mustangs gained some momentum and went on a 5-0 run to take the lead 5-3 in the set.

CSUN tied it up 10-10 after some miscommunication between Cal Poly middle blocker Kate Slack and outside hitter Amy Hiatt, who both stared at the ball as it hit the ground. The 8-1 Matador run would be capped off by outside hitter Seyvion Waggoner, whose spike went out of bounds after it was deflected by a Mustang (13-10).

Nicole Nevarez, 13, getting ready to serve against the Cal Poly Mustangs in the Matadome in Northridge, Calif., on Friday, Nov. 5, 2021. (Christopher Riscen)

CSUN’s outside hitter Nicole Nevarez would tie the game at 20 a piece in the set after her kill. Nevarez would eventually give the ball back after her serve went straight into the net and was in disbelief as she went into the huddle. Cal Poly would take a 22-20 lead after an ace from Avalon DeNecochea that Nevarez could not handle.

A 5-0 Matador run would give the Matadors the set with two of the points coming from CSUN libero Makayla Bradford’s aces. Bradford’s first ace would tie it at 22 and her second ace gave the Matadors the set. Cal Poly libero Peyton Dueck attempted the set, but the ball would slip right through her hands.

Cal Poly would start the second set with an early 2-1 lead after a spike from outside hitter Nicole Cavote that Bradford would get an arm under, but a diving attempt from outside hitter Lexi McLeod to get to the ball would not be enough. An attack error by Waggoner after some miscommunication resulted in her bumping the ball straight into the net, bringing the Mustangs within one (6-5).

CSUN outside hitter Taylor Orshoff would get a kill later in the set after getting both hands over the net and tapping the ball towards the floor for the kill, 11-8. CSUN would take a 13-9 lead in the set after a block by middle blocker Taylor Hunter, but a 4-0 Mustang run would tie it at 13.

The Matadors took a 17-16 lead after a bump from Bradford, which resulted in a set from CSUN setter Madison Klungel for Waggoner to spike it. The spike was too fast for Cal Poly libero Lea Ungar, as she couldn’t get under it. A no touch challenge by CSUN later in the set would be reversed and would result in a 18-18 tie in the set.

The Mustangs took a 21-20 lead after back-to-back kills from outside hitter Tommi Stockham, with one of them landing right in between Bradford and Nevarez as they were caught looking.

“Boom, boom, clap, boom, boom, clap, We will, we will rock you!” echoed in the Matadome after a McLeod ace that put the Matadors up 23-21 in the set. A block by Anderson and Orshoff would give the Matadors a 24-21 lead and Orshoff would give the Matadors the set with a kill that landed on the right sideline.

Lexi McLeod, 17, ready to receive the ball during the match against Cal Poly Mustangs in the Matadome in Northridge, Calif., on Friday, Nov. 5, 2021. (Christopher Riscen)

Cal Poly came out of the locker room looking like a whole new team in the third set. The Mustangs would take the lead and not look back. The Matadors never tied or took the lead in this set. Cal Poly would start the set off with back to back kills from Stockham and would jump to a 7-1 lead in the set.

Later in the set, the Mustangs would take a 17-10 lead after an attacking error by Hunter, who received a set from Barron that went so high up in the air and almost touched the scoreboard. The Mustangs would cruise their way into set number four as they went on an 8-2 run to finish the third set and take it 25-13.

“Our plan was to serve number nine [Stockham] and in the third set we didn’t get the ball on her so they were able to be in system and run their offense,” said interim head coach Susie Terrusa. “They’re very talented and have a lot of great hitters, so you have to get them out of system to have a chance.”

CSUN would open up the final set with a kill and ace from McLeod giving CSUN a 2-0 lead, but the Mustangs would come right back and tie it with kills coming from Cavote and Stockham. Later in the set, Anderson would go up and block an attempt by Slack, giving the Matadors an 11-9 lead.

A block by Orshoff and Hunter late in the set would give CSUN their biggest lead of the set 23-18, but Cal Poly would come back with a 4-0 run (23-22) capped by an ace from Ungar. A kill by Orshoff would give the Matadors a 24-22 lead as the crowd got on their feet knowing they were one point away from victory.

Taylor Hunter, 14, swatting the ball for the kill attempt against the Cal Poly Mustangs in the Matadome in Northridge, Calif., on Friday, Nov. 5, 2021. (Christopher Riscen)

The game point came from a Hunter kill that was deflected by Cal Poly middle blocker Meridith Phillips onto the floor. CSUN would take the set 25-23 and would win the match 3-1.

“I was just making sure it was going in, especially on the last one,” Hunter said. “Everything was going our way, we had great passes, great sets, so I was just making sure I could execute for my team.

This was CSUN’s first win at home as they broke a four-game losing streak and improved to 4-9 in the Big West Conference.

“I just think we played a great match,” Terrusa said. “We served very well, we passed very well, we blocked well, it was an all around great team effort.”