CSUN women’s volleyball impresses at Wildcat Invitational

Setter+Carisa+Barron+rises+to+hit+the+ball+against+the+Texas+A%26M+University+Corpus+Christi+Islanders+on+Friday%2C+Sept.+16%2C+2022.+The+Matadors+won+the+game+3-2.+Barron+had+10+kills+and+two+errors+through+the+five+sets.

CSUN Athletic Department

Setter Carisa Barron rises to hit the ball against the Texas A&M University Corpus Christi Islanders on Friday, Sept. 16, 2022. The Matadors won the game 3-2. Barron had 10 kills and two errors through the five sets.

Luis Silva, Reporter

With Big West Conference competition around the corner, the CSUN women’s volleyball team headed to Arizona for the Wildcat Classic, winning two of three matches.

The first match against the UTEP Miners (6-6) ended with the Matadors (5-7) winning a closely contested fight, 3-2. In the first set, the Matadors broke a 12-12 deadlock with a 4-1 run before making it 18-14 following a block by outside hitter Nicole Nevarez. The Miners responded with a 4-1 run of their own and came within one point, but after a timeout, the Matadors ran away with the set.

CSUN fell behind early in set two, trailing 9-3. The Matadors went on a 4-1 run to reduce the deficit to 10-7, but the Miners responded with a 7-2 run to win the set 25-14.

The third set went to extra points after a 3-1 run by the Matadors forced a 22-22 tie. A kill by outside hitter Magdalena Juric, along with an ace by middle blocker Lauryn Anderson, set up the match point 24-22. But the Miners responded with three straight points to save the set before middle blocker Taylor Hunter tied it at 26. Finally, the Matadors won the set 28-26 with a kill and stuff by Hunter.

The Matadors trailed 13-6 early in set four after a 7-1 run by the Miners. UTEP held a seven-point lead at 17-10 until a 4-1 run, capped with a double block by Nevarez and Hunter, put the Matadors back within four. However, the deficit proved to be too large as the Miners took the set 25-17.

In the final set of the game, the Matadors jumped to a 5-2 lead, courtesy of a block and kill by Hunter. The Matadors then used two 3-0 runs to take a commanding 12-5 lead as Taylor Orshoff recorded her 13th kill of the game. A block by Juric saw the Matadors win the set 15-7 and clinch the match.

“It was initially frustrating having to deal with many losses early on,” said head coach John Price about the Matadors early season struggles. “However, the team has worked very hard and having patience has led to better results.”

The Matadors headed into their next match against Texas A&M Corpus Christi (1-14) only one hour after beating UTEP. Once again, the match lasted five sets before the Matadors secured the victory.

In a back-and-forth first set, the Matadors held a 20-16 advantage with an ace from Anderson before the Islanders closed the gap with a 5-1 run. Both teams traded sideouts until the score was 25-25. Then, a pair of kills by Orshoff helped the Matadors win the tightly contested set 27-25.

The Matadors trailed 13-6 in the second set and were unable to overcome the deficit as they lost 25-17.

The Matadors built a six-point lead, 18-12, in set three, until the Islanders rallied with a 5-0 run. A kill by Anderson allowed the Matadors to maintain the lead 23-20. Hunter set up the match point for the Matadors, 24-23, but CSUN was unable to close it out as the Islanders rallied with a 4-1 run to take a 2-1 set lead.

Needing a win to continue the match, the Matadors built a 9-6 lead following a kill by setter Kaia Kanan. The Islanders then claimed the lead 13-11, which they maintained until a Nevarez block, an Islanders hitting error, and an ace by Kanan put the Matadors up 19-18. As the set came to a 20-20 stalemate, a kill by Hunter kicked off a 5-0 Matadors run to tie the game.

With another match up for grabs in the fifth set, both teams exchanged 5-1 runs, with the Matadors taking a 12-9 lead. The Islanders responded by tying the score at 14-14, but a pair of kills by Hunter and Orshoff gave the Matadors their second win of the day.

Price had much praise for Nevarez and Orshoff, who each recorded 27 kills in Friday’s doubleheader. “Without Nicole and Taylor, we wouldn’t have won those two games,” Price said. “Their leadership helped motivate the team to stay competitive and win both games.”

The Matadors finished the Wildcat Classic against host Arizona (10-2), dropping the match 3-1.

The Matadors built a 12-7 lead against the Wildcats, forcing the latter to take a timeout. The Matadors kept the five-point lead steady at 16-11, until a Wildcats 8-3 run put both teams at a 19-19 deadlock. The Wildcats jumped ahead 23-20 until a Nevarez kill sparked a 5-0 run by the Matadors to clinch the first set.

In the next two sets, the Matadors trailed by large deficits early and had no response, which subsequently led to the Wildcats winning both sets, 25-16 and 25-10.

The Matadors faced a 10-point Wildcats lead early in set four, 12-2. However, they pulled together a furious rally, outscoring the Wildcats 15-7 to cut the deficit to two thanks to an Anderson block. The Wildcats built a four-point lead before Anderson’s ninth kill of the game put the Matadors back within three points at 22-19. Both teams traded points for the next two possessions until the Wildcats secured the match with a kill, 25-21.

The Matadors host CSU Bakersfield on Friday, Sept. 30, at the Premier America Credit Union Arena.