Women’s volleyball splits final homestand of the season

Two Matadors go up for a block in the game against CSU Fullerton on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022, at the Premier America Credit Union Arena in Northridge, Calif.

Luis Silva, Reporter

CSUN women’s volleyball (9-23, 4-16 Big West Conference) returned to the Premier America Credit Union Arena to play its fourth homestand of the season against fellow Big West opponents CSU Long Beach (19-9, 14-6 Big West Conference) and CSU Fullerton (13-15, 7-13 Big West Conference) on Nov. 11-12.

The Matadors hosted Long Beach State on Friday night, having lost the first meeting against the 49ers earlier this year.

The opening set was a close battle as the Matadors led 10-9 early on, before a 4-0 Long Beach run put the Matadors down by three. The Matadors cut the lead to two with a kill by outside hitter Taylor Orshoff, but Long Beach State maintained its lead, eventually increasing it to as much as four.

Senior outside hitter Taylor Orshoff, 1, elevates to spike the ball as two CSU Fullerton players attempt to block on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022, at the Premier America Credit Union Arena in Northridge, Calif. (Marena Reich)

The Matadors then leveled the set at 20-20 when Long Beach State made three consecutive hitting errors. Middle blocker Lauryn Anderson spiked her third kill of the set a short time later, putting the Matadors within a point at 23-22. The 49ers went on to close out the set with two straight kills.

The second set started off with both teams trading 3-0 and 2-0 runs. No team held an advantage larger than three points until late in the set. A crucial ace gave Long Beach State a 16-13 lead and all the momentum. Opposite hitter Magdalena Juric’s kill and setter Kaia Kanan’s ace helped the Matadors reduce the lead to one point, but the Beach struck back with a decisive 5-0 run to increase their lead to six.

Outside hitter Nicole Nevarez ended the run with her third kill of the match, but the Matadors could not stop the Long Beach State flurry as the Beach went on to claim the next four points and the set, 25-16.

“We had some chances to make some plays during set two but we didn’t make them, and Long Beach extended rallies better than we did,” John Price, director of women’s volleyball, explained.

The third set began with the Matadors taking a 4-3 lead due to a Long Beach State hitting error. The set stayed square at 6-6 until Long Beach used a Matadors’ attack error by setter Carisa Barron to spark a 5-1 run. The Matadors came within two points when Orshoff spiked a kill to reduce the lead to 11-9. Long Beach State took control of the rest of the set, winning it 25-18 and sweeping the Matadors.

CSUN first-year setter Kaia Kanan serves in the game against CSU Fullerton on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022, at the Premier America Credit Union Arena in Northridge, Calif. (Marena Reich)

Despite the sweep, Barron showed optimism going into the next match against Cal State Fullerton.

“I think we can come out there and play harder out there tomorrow after losing like that,” Barron said. “And just start with a new fresh plate, and go out there and get it done.”

CSUN hosted the Cal State Fullerton Titans the following day, looking to brush off the sweep they suffered against Long Beach State.

The Matadors immediately got to work in the first set, jumping out to an early 6-0 advantage with three kills, two aces and a Titans’ hitting error. The Matadors increased their lead to 10-2 with Nevarez spiking her first kill of the match. The Titans scored three straight to reduce their deficit to five, but the Matadors kept pace and continued to build their lead, eventually running away with the set 25-15.

Set two began the same way as set one, with the Matadors grabbing a 5-0 lead courtesy of two aces, two kills and another Titans’ hitting error. A block by Orshoff and Juric spiked a kill to maintain the six-point lead at 9-3.

The Matadors poured on more points to build a 17-8 lead. The Titans used a 4-0 run to cut the lead to five, but the Matadors maintained the lead thanks to multiple Titans’ hitting errors. Nevarez recorded six kills in the set as the Matadors cruised to a 25-14 victory.

The Matadors celebrate their sweep over CSU Fullerton on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022, at the Premier America Credit Union Arena in Northridge, Calif. (Marena Reich)

The third set saw a change of roles with the Titans grabbing an early 7-3 advantage. The Matadors used a 7-2 run to retake the lead at 10-9, courtesy of two straight Titans’ attack errors at the end of the run.

The Matadors and Titans traded leads multiple times throughout the game, using multiple rallies as they came to a 20-20 stalemate. Juric spiked her sixth and seventh kills of the match to give the Matadors a 22-21 lead. The Titans claimed three of the next four points as they tried to extend the game to a fourth set.

CSUN prevented the set point as Orshoff recorded her 10th kill of the match, bringing the set to a 24-24 tie. A Titans’ attack error, followed by Orshoff’s 11th kill, concluded the set and match.

It was their third win in conference play this season, snapping an eight-game losing streak.

The Matadors followed up with a 3-2 road victory against UC Riverside, before suffering three straight losses to conclude the season.