CSUN January sports roundup

Arianna Alexander, 158, runs a race during the 2022 outdoor season. Alexander ran the 60m dash in 7.43 seconds, setting a school record at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Invitational.

Joseph Gonzalez, Reporter

With the start of the spring 2023 semester this week and many sports already underway, we dive into the ups and downs the teams in action have faced in January, and look forward to our Matadors’ upcoming season.

This spring season will feature 15 different sports for men and women, with seven of them having already started play. All teams have different expectations and roads ahead of them.

Track and field
The men’s and women’s teams have competed in two meets so far this season. One of those events was the Spokane Indoor Challenge. A standout was freshman Logan Davis, who tied the school record in the 60m with a time of 6.73 seconds in the race.

The second event was the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Invitational, hosted by the University of New Mexico at the Albuquerque Convention Center. Redshirt junior Arianna Alexander blazed her way into the record books with a time of 7.43 seconds in the 60m prelims. Alexander ran for CSUN’s fastest time in 60m history, beating Le’Shel Vines’ time, who set the record by running the prelims in 7.45 seconds in 2014.

“It was exhilarating,” Alexander said. “My race felt amazing. I felt like I was flying and I didn’t make any serious technical errors. I could tell I was going to PR the second I left the blocks, but I didn’t expect to break the record!”

Next event: The New Mexico Collegiate Classic in Albuquerque, New Mexico on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 3-4.

Women’s tennis
Gary Victor enters his 26th season as the head coach of the women’s tennis team. After finishing 8-9 in 2022, the Matadors look to return to a winning percentage above .500, like they did in 2021.

The Matadors began the 2023 season on the road against nationally ranked USC, where the Matadors lost 4-0. The disappointing season opener was followed by a 7-0 shutout against William Jessup on Jan. 21. The Matadors shut out the Warriors in four of the six singles matches and one of the three doubles matches, with a full team effort by eight different players helping to secure the win. The team took down Westmont 7-0 on Saturday, improving to 2-1 in the season.

Yuliia Zhytelna earned January’s CalHOPE Courage Award, a monthly award given to California college-athletes who overcame hardship and personal struggles. Hailing from Ukraine, Zhytelna struggled with her mental health after Russia invaded the country in February, and pushed through to return to the court in the fall of 2022. Through the first three games this spring, Zhytelna is 2-1 in both singles and doubles, earning shutouts in both the singles and doubles matches against Jessup.

Next match: Saturday, Feb. 4 at Santa Clara at 11 a.m.

Men’s volleyball

After failing to record a win and getting swept by USC and UCLA in the first two matches of the season, the team bounced back and went on a four-game winning streak. Winning only six games last season, the team is on track to eclipse its win total from 2022.

During the four-game winning streak, the team only lost one set. The streak came to an end on Wednesday in a home game against USC. This time, the Matadors saw a slight improvement against the Trojans, winning a single set in the 3-1 loss. In their second match after the winning streak ended, UCLA got the better of CSUN once again, defeating them 3-0. The team heads into February with a 4-4 record.

Next match: Wednesday, Feb. 1 vs. Vanguard at 7 p.m.

Women’s water polo
The women’s water polo team is being led by seventh-year head coach and CSUN alumnus Matt Warshaw. So far, season seven for Warshaw’s group has been a success as the team has two wins and zero losses. The pair of wins came against La Verne and Biola, where they outscored both opponents by a total score of 26-13.

The Matadors look to continue their success at the 2023 Triton Invitational from Feb. 3-5 in La Jolla, California, where they went 2-2 last season.

Next match: The Triton Invitational on Friday, Feb. 3 vs. UCLA in La Jolla, California at 12 p.m.

Men’s basketball

Basketball season is in full swing and already 22 games in. Sitting in last place in the Big West Conference standings with a 4-18 record, the men’s team looks to snap their two-game losing streak.

Despite their .182 winning percentage, the team had positives to build off of. The team leaders in points per game are sophomores Atin Wright and Dionte Bostick, who have 14.6 and 12.4 points per game, respectively. Five players have remained healthy for all 22 games, with Bostick having missed only one, allowing them to build chemistry on the court. The men’s team failed to protect their home turf in their game against UC San Diego on Thursday, Jan. 26, 65-57, and dropped the following game at UC Irvine by 25.

Next game: Saturday, Feb. 4 vs. UCSB at 7 p.m.

Women’s basketball

The women’s team finds itself in a similar spot as the men’s team. They have gone 4-17 so far in the season and are currently in eighth place in the Big West Conference standings, sitting on a 3-8 record in conference play.

Head coach Carlene Mitchell looks to keep the team fighting with help from her 2022 all-conference players Jordyn Jackson and Tess Amundsen, the leading scorers of the squad.

Jackson, a graduate student, scored her 1,000th point in her CSUN career against Fullerton on January 21, making her the 14th Matador in the program’s history to accomplish this milestone.

Next game: Saturday, Feb. 4 at UCSB at 4 p.m.

Women’s golf
Women’s golf will make its comeback this week, hosting a tri-match between Long Beach State University and California State University Bakersfield, dedicated to the prevention of human trafficking.

Their best finish last season was in the 2022 Hobble Creek Fall Classic in September, where they claimed ninth place out of 18 teams. In the other three invitationals, they finished in last place twice and seventh out of nine teams the other time.

Next game: Wednesday, Feb. 1 vs. LBSU/CSUB