CSUN sports roundup 04/05 – 04/11

From left to right: Kamau Neighbors, Shunsuke Sakaino, Thomas Bainton and Joey Kramer jog to the dugout after completing an inning on Feb. 26, 2023, in Northridge, Calif.

Joseph Gonzalez, Reporter

Wins were tough to come by for the CSUN sports programs this week. As the end of the semester approaches, the Matadors’ biggest obstacles lie ahead with Big West Conference tournaments on the horizon.

Varsity N Athletics Honor Roll Ceremony

Ninety-two student-athletes attended the 41st annual Varsity N Athletics Honor Roll Ceremony on Tuesday, April 11. Athletes who have competed for at least one season and maintained a GPA of at least 3.2 in the last two semesters were honored.

The men’s volleyball team claimed its second straight title of highest average team GPA among the men’s sports, while women’s tennis earned its fourth straight title for women’s sports.

Scholar-Athlete of the Year awards were also given out. Typically, these are given to the two student-athletes with the highest GPA. This year, seven student-athletes were named recipients of the Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award, while two players from the men’s volleyball team, senior Taylan Cook and redshirt senior Luke Krzmarzick, received the Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award.

Women’s tennis

Sasha Turchak runs toward the net to hit the ball back to her opponent, Masha Ponomareva of Portland State University, on Nov. 13, 2022, at the Matador Tennis Complex in Northridge, Calif. (Edward Segal)

The Matadors dropped a close match against Cal State Fullerton on Saturday, April 8, 4-3. The loss put the team in third place in the Big West standings with a 4-2 conference record.

The home match started with a doubles victory from freshman Vitoria Solis Urdiales and sophomore Cindy Ung. Senior Sasha Turchak and redshirt sophomore Yuliia Zhytelna captured a doubles victory as well. CSUN dropped the first three singles matches, putting them on the brink of a loss. Turchak won a pair of tiebreaker games to seal her match in two sets. Fullerton led 3-2. Freshman Tallia Harper won her match as well, but graduate student Jolene Coetzee was forced to retire, giving Fullerton the 4-3 victory.

The Matadors have only one match left before they compete in the Big West championships in San Diego.

Next match: Friday, April 21 vs. UC Santa Barbara at 1 p.m.

Women’s water polo

The struggle of conference play continued for the Matadors as they dropped another Big West match against sixth-ranked UC Irvine on Friday, April 7. This made their conference record 0-5 so far in 2023.

The road game started with goals from CSUN sophomores Tatum Scarry and Dorottya Telek. Irvine answered with a goal of its own less than a minute later, before Telek finished the first period with one more in the back of the net. Irvine found a groove in the second, scoring five goals to CSUN’s two. Despite that huge second quarter from the home team, CSUN only trailed 6-5 at the half. The defense continued to struggle the rest of the way for the Matadors as they surrendered 13 more goals. The offense could not keep up and scored only three more times to lose 19-8.

CSUN remains winless in Big West play. With only one match left against conference foes, the Matadors still have a chance to change their fortunes.

Next match: Saturday, April 22 vs. Cal State Fullerton at noon.


CSUN softball’s Kennedy Gustin, 16, waits for her pitch while at bat during the Matadors’ game against UC Davis on Friday, April 14, 2023, in Northridge, Calif. (Jose Callejas)

After taking a break from Big West action by facing LMU in the first week of April, the Matadors got back into conference play with a three-game road series against Cal State Fullerton.

CSUN took game one on Friday, April 7, beating Fullerton 5-2. Freshman Lauryn Carranco completed her second full game in the circle, pitching seven innings while surrendering only two runs and striking out five. CSUN saw four different batters drive in five runs on the night, helping the Matadors secure the win.

The series finished Saturday, April 8, with a doubleheader. It took CSUN seven innings to drive in its first and only run of game two. The pitching staff also struggled, giving up seven runs. The Titans took game two, 7-1.

The finale of the series was all Fullerton as well, and concluded a successful day for the Titans. CSUN was left hitless in game three. The Matadors only had one runner reach on a walk. Fullerton’s offense jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first and followed with four more runs in the second, making it 7-0 after two innings of play. CSUN gave up one final run in the fourth, and lost 8-0.

The season has been up and down for the Matadors. They have a 17-19 record to show for it.

Next game: Wednesday, April 19 vs. San Diego at 1 p.m.


The five-game winning streak came to an end for the Matadors in Macon, Georgia. CSUN lost games one and three to drop its series against the Mercer Bears, 2-1.

All three aspects of game one were difficult for CSUN. The pitching staff gave up nine hits and nine runs, the defense committed three field errors, and the offense only scored two runs. This was a recipe for a blowout loss as the Matadors fell 9-2.

Sophomore Thomas Bainton had his best pitching performance of the season in game two against the Bears. Bainton pitched a complete game, striking out eight and giving up three hits and zero walks in seven innings. The offense was led by a pair of hitters. Junior Jakob Simons homered and had three RBIs, while redshirt sophomore Kevin Fitzer had two hits and four RBIs. CSUN won 10-1 in seven innings.

The series finale was a close game, but the Matadors did not leave the South with a victory as Mercer picked up the win, 4-2. Mercer took a 4-0 lead into the sixth before junior Kamau Neighbors and Fitzer each drove in a run, cutting the deficit in half. Mercer shut out the Matadors for the rest of the game to secure the win.

CSUN had a week off from games before taking on Big West opponent Long Beach State.

Next game: Tuesday, April 18 at USC at 6:30 p.m.

Beach volleyball

CSUN beach volleyball teammates Emily Sparks, 15, and Mikaela Maughan, 22, slap hands as they celebrate scoring against the University of San Francisco on March 31, 2023, at the CSUN Beach Volleyball Complex in Northridge, Calif. (Aliyah Hinckley)

The Matadors beach volleyball team lost to 18th-ranked Pepperdine on the road, and finished the season with a 16-14 record.

The score wound up being 5-0 waves. Every Matadors pair lost its game. They took two of the games to a third set, but could not muster a victory.

The team had a busy ending to the week as they played four games in two days. Those were the Matadors’ final matches of the regular season before the Big West Championships. The Matadors will take on Long Beach State, the 11th-ranked team in the nation, in the first round of the tournament.

Next match: Big West Championship on Friday, April 21 at Honolulu, O’ahu.

Men’s golf

The UC Santa Barbara Collegiate saw the Matadors generate one of their best performances of the season as they finished second of 12 teams.

In the morning segment of the first day, CSUN finished first of 12, scoring 3-under-par 285 strokes to lead all teams. Despite the foggy conditions, the Matadors still managed to stay on top as they looked ahead to round two.

In the afternoon round, the Matadors scored 13-over 301 through the 18 holes. The team finished four strokes behind Utah Valley for second place. CSUN’s final score was 586.

Sophomore Nick Fowlkes led the Matadors with a first-place finish in the tournament thanks to his 7-under 137 performance. Seniors Eirik Thomassen and Paul-Louis Gachet also stepped up as they tied for 15th in the 66-player field, generating 5-over 149 performances.

The third round of the tournament was canceled due to the fog.

Next match: PING Cougar Classic at BYU in Provo, Utah on Friday, April 21.

Women’s golf

The women’s golf team spent the first week of April preparing for the Big West Championship, which started on Monday, April 16 and extends until Tuesday, April 18. Freshman Gracie Piar leads the team with a 77.67 average this season, and is the only Matador with an individual victory in 2022-23. This week, the team will play in Las Vegas, Nevada at the Spanish Trail Golf and Country Club, and will look to recover from their last-place finish at the Fresno State Classic.

Next match: Big West Championship from April 16-18 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Men’s volleyball

The CSUN men’s volleyball team huddles after a play against the UCLA Bruins on Jan. 27, 2023, at the Premier America Credit Union Arena in Northridge, Calif. (Aliyah Hinckley)

The slide continued for the men’s volleyball team as they lost two matches to fourth-ranked Long Beach State over the weekend. The team has dropped 10 consecutive contests, putting them at 1-9 in conference play and 12-15 overall.

It took Long Beach State five sets to win the game on Friday April 7, 3-2. The Matadors started the match by winning the first two sets, one of which needed extra rallies. On the brink of snapping the losing streak, the Matadors let the next three sets slip away. Even though LBSU committed more errors, CSUN struggled to capitalize offensively.

On the following Saturday night, LBSU secured a 3-0 set sweep.

The Matadors have not won since the first week of March. They dropped their season finale against UCSB over the weekend, failing to gain momentum into the Outrigger Big West Championship.

Next match: Outrigger Big West Championship on Thursday, April 20 at UC Irvine at 7:30 p.m.