The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Matadors win a thrilling five-set home game against Long Beach State

Aliyah Hinckley
Libero Kelsey Knudsen, 16, dives to dig the ball to teammates after receiving it from UC San Diego in the Premier America Credit Union Arena in Northridge, Calif. on Oct. 6, 2023.

The Matadors defeated Long Beach State University on Saturday, Oct. 7, at Premier America Credit Union in an explosive, unpredictable five-set match.

Their 25-16, 21-25, 23-25, 25-9, 11-15 win was their first five-set win this season. This was a pivotal time since the Matadors were hoping to end their arduous seven-game losing streak as they hosted their final home game before a short road trip.

CSUN moved up to 3-14 as they looked to improve their Big West record and ranking.

Despite being outscored 85-59 and trailing in every statistical category, the Matadors not only outlasted but outperformed Long Beach with zero errors in that final set and ended the game on an 8-4 run.

“It felt really good,” director of women’s volleyball John Price said. “We were undermanned again, as we had some injuries, and didn’t have our best middle or our left and our starting libero for all the year, so for the rest of the team to step up like that was awesome to watch.”

While deeply injured, the Matadors enjoyed stellar performances from many players, such as setter Carisa Barron, who led the team with 18 assists and had the second-most kills with nine.

Following the win, Barron noted that she was most proud of the team’s serves and their improvement in closing out extended games.

Barron stated, “I think our serving was great, especially with a team that’s offensively playing really good like that, we need them off the net and I think we did a good job doing that tonight.”

Libero Paige Sentes led the team with three aces, two of which came in the final set, leading to the close victory. Following the win, Sentes noted how the Matadors still have a lot to improve on, but is proud that their hard work in practice shined through with a win.

The Matadors were able to move on and maintain their resolve as they limited runs through improved passing, defense, communication and ball handling.

“We’ve been close all year, but we’ve just been finding ways to lose. Tonight I feel like we found ways to win,” Price said. “Long Beach is obviously a really good team and it was nice to see our players, as they’ve been working hard.”

The Matadors started the match with a less than ideal first set, as they allowed Long Beach to end the set with a 3-10 run.

They quickly recovered, won the second set 21-25 and the third set 25-23 through passing precision.

The Matadors started the fourth set up 1-0 and let the Beach enjoy an overwhelming 25-9 run to end the set.

“I think we knew what we could do, as we did it for two straight sets and we knew what we were getting ourselves into with the fifth set,” Sentes concluded. “We knew the serves, the hits, and the tendencies, so I think that really helped.”

CSUN’s ability to process gameplay quickly and make rapid and accurate adjustments greatly contributed to the win, as the Matadors accessed what they needed to improve and execute going into the fifth set.

The team went on to travel and play at CSU Fullerton on Friday, Oct. 13, as the Matadors looked to improve their record and Big West standing.

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