CSUN women’s club volleyball advances in playoffs

Southern California Collegiate Volleyball League playoffs bracket and schedule. Photo courtesy of Clare Groninger.

Charlie Gonzalez, Sports Writer

CSUN women’s club volleyball cruised to victory in the qualifying round of the playoffs, dominating their opponents by double digits in all four sets of play.

Northridge swept CSU Channel Islands and Mount St. Mary’s University on Sunday during the Southern California Collegiate Volleyball League qualifying round. Hosted by CSUN at the Student Recreation Center, the women’s club volleyball tournament pitted each school against the other two in a best-of-three series.

“After every qualifying match has concluded, each team is placed in a 1-11 ranking based on their win-loss ratio,” Clare Groninger, a member of CSUN’s volleyball team, explained. “That will decide our seed for the championships, and the top eight out of eleven teams in each division will advance.”

The first match of the day was between CSUN and St. Mary’s. Northridge dominated the first set, winning 25-2. The weak spot for St. Mary’s, which the Matadors identified early on, was the back right corner of the St. Mary’s side, where the setter continually struggled to determine the trajectory of the ball. In set two, she was moved to the front left spot.

Set two was when Northridge began to show their weaknesses. CSUN led by a score of 18-8, when Elicia Leuma-Burks and libero Alana Grospe made the mistake of keeping a play alive by hitting the ball twice when it was heading out of bounds after a St. Mary’s hit. Despite the slip-up, Northridge won the set 25-9, sweeping St. Mary’s 2-0.

During CSUN’s break, Mount St. Mary’s and CSU Channel Islands squared off, the latter earning the 2-0 victory.

The final matchup of the day pitted CSUN against CSU Channel Islands. Both entered match three undefeated, setting the stage for a highly competitive final showdown.

Northridge took set one 25-15, advancing to 3-0 overall while handing Channel Islands their first loss of the day. It was a tale of two matches for Channel Islands, who swept Mount St. Mary’s, then faltered against Northridge. Set two began in a back-and-forth manner, each team alternating points until the game was tied 8-8. Neither team had a lead greater than one until CSUN pulled ahead, scoring six unanswered points to go up 14-8. Northridge controlled the remainder of the set, winning by the same score as set one, and secured the 2-0 sweep over Channel Islands.

“I’d say Channel Islands’ overall play was more consistent than Mount St. Mary’s,” Matador Michelle Lam concluded.

The Matadors finished the qualifier with a perfect 4-0 record, putting them in good position for the Southern California Collegiate Volleyball League playoffs. All three of Sunday’s matches ended in sweeps, bringing the qualifying rounds to a close sooner than expected.

The next round of Division II qualifiers between teams in the North and Central conferences will occur on Feb. 25, 2023, and will be hosted by either Claremont or CSUN.