The Northridge women’s volleyball team fought valiantly against the Cal State Bakersfield Roadrunners but their efforts went in vain as they dropped the five-set match Friday night at the Matadome.
By the scores of 25-21, 17-25, 25-23, 22-25, 15-13, the non-conference loss drops the Matadors’ record to 7-16, still 3-6 in the Big West and improves Bakersfield to 11-13.
“I think it was an up-and-down match,” CSUN head coach Jeff Stork said. “They did what they did well, and we did what we did well. We need to find a way to put the ball to the floor (more).”
For most of the first set the score was tight with Bakersfield never leading by more than three points.
With the score knotted at 14 the Roadrunners began to pull away. A 7-4 run would bring the score to 21-18, forcing the Matadors to use their second timeout.
The short break gave Northridge a little momentum and a block by senior middle blocker Tela Burnett would bring the score to 21-23. But a Burnett blocking error and a hitting error by junior outside hitter Lynda Morales would hand Bakersfield the first set.
“We’re small, so we’re not a real presence at the net…but we serve really well,” Bakersfield head coach John Price said.
Surprisingly enough, neither team had a single ace the entire first set. It wasn’t until set two that the aces and kills began to take shape.
The second set started out much like the first, but the Matadors went on an 8-2 run that would give them a 16-9 lead. The Roadrunners would only score eight more points before an Angela Hupp kill would give Northridge the set handily.
Set three saw reinvigorated teams on both sides of the net, but Northridge trailed for most of the set. Tied at 19, the Roadrunners would score four straight points before a Hupp rollshot would give sophomore outside hitter Puneet Pataria the serve and bring the Matadors within one (22-23).
But Northridge was only able to score one more point before a Pataria dig error off of a Brittany Williams’ attack attempt is blocked, giving the set to Bakersfield.
During the fourth and crucial set for Northridge, the score would tie 12 times. Bakersfield would take a mid-set lead at 18-14 before Hupp would serve five straight points to take a one-point lead.
Tied for the last time at 22, a Pataria kill on an overpass, followed by a Hupp block on another overpass, topped off by a Bakersfield hitting error would close the match and tie the sets at two apiece.
After switching sides in the final set and with the score at 8-6 in favor of the Roadrunners, things began to look up for Northridge. Sophomore setter Sam Orlandini served up three straight to give the Matadors an 11-10 lead.
Both teams would rally back and forth before Matador Monica McFarland receives an error that would give Bakersfield the first match-point of the night.
A Hupp kill brought the Matadors within one point, hoping to push the game farther. But moments later, Hupp is tooled off a Bakersfield kill ending the match.
“Volleyball is a two out of three sport,” Stork said. “(Bakersfield) played good enough in three of the sets to win.”
“I thought we played hard,” Price said. “I think Northridge is pretty talented. They matched up well with us. (We’re) very fortunate to come away with a win.”
Bakersfield was led by outside hitter Lindy DeGeare with 14 kills and middle blocker Alysia Baker who added 12 of her own.
The Roadrunners were able to neutralize Northridge’s leading attacker, Hupp, holding her to just 13 kills in 38 swings. Hupp also had 16 assists and eight digs.
“They did a good job controlling Angela,” Stork said. “But Angela was Angela and she found a way.”
And without freshman outside hitter Britney Graff, who is still nursing an injury sustained in a match against Pacific last week, Northridge turned to less-experienced Pataria, a former middle blocker.
Pataria contributed 10 kills and eight digs.
“We should have handled it better,” team captain Hupp said. “We should have won. We had good comebacks but we should have held them.”
Northridge will continue conference play when they host UC Santa Barbara next Wednesday at the Matadome.