They’re consistent, not perfect.?
The women’s volleyball squad left the state’s capital with two victories and a loss in the Sacramento State Invitational over the weekend. It was the same result they obtained at the Bronco Invitational in Boise, Idaho a week earlier, two wins and second place.?
The Matadors started by picking up right where they left off and extended their then-winning streak to three with a three-set sweep of tournament-host Sacramento State by scores of 25-20, 25-12, 26-24.
Head coach Jeff Stork has been stressing efficient hitting, which is what he got from his team against the Hornets.?
‘I think this was as error-free as we’ve been this year,’ Stork said. ‘Our hitting was real good (Friday night) and obviously when you’re hitting that well, things are going good. Hitting 33 percent as a team is a real good number.’?
‘We’ve done a very good job of siding out, and our point scoring has been very good.’?
Sophomore outside hitter Brittany Williams led the Matadors’ offense with 10 kills in 26 opportunities against Sacramento State. Jenn Probert and Angela Hupp each added eight kills. Freshman setter Sam Orlandini added 36 assists and five digs while senior libero Kelley Hanson posted a team-high 10 digs.?
The loss dropped the Hornets to 2-3. At the moment, that was three more losses than Saint Mary’s, who went into the second match of the Invitational against the Matadors undefeated. One of the two winning streaks was to die by the end of the showdown and, unfortunately for CSUN, it was theirs. Northridge was swept in three sets by scores of 19-25, 17-25, 20-25.?
‘Saint Mary’s would have been a significant win for us,’ said Stork, whose team did not score up to their season average in the match. ‘They have a good team.’?
The Matadors would bounce back, however, in the third and final game of the tournament. They did it in remarkable fashion, too, coming back from a 1-2 set deficit and ultimately defeating San Jose State in five by scores of 29-27, 16-25, 25-27, 25-23, 17-15.?
Hupp had a solid all-around match as she had 18 kills, eight digs, eight blocks, two assists and one ace. Williams added 15 kills and freshman Puneet Pataria came off the bench to post a career-high 13 kills.?
The victory secured their second-place finish. Saint Mary’s was first.
‘We showed a lot of character and really pushed ourselves in some of the games,’ said Hupp. ‘I think this tournament was an overall confidence booster.’?
The Matadors (4-2) will now travel to Tempe, Arizona for the ASU Invitational, where they’ll play Cincinnati, Montana and Arizona State, three teams that usually get to play in the postseason. With strength of schedule and wins over quality opponents being two of the main criteria for advancing to the playoffs, the Matadors will help their playoff chances with a good showing at this particular competition.?
League play begins in less than two weeks and Stork is looking to fine-tune the starting lineup, trying to find a rhythm. First things first, though, and that’s Arizona.?
‘The team feels good about the way we started off these first two tournaments,’ Williams said. ‘We are just trying to stay together and play together for every match.’?
‘I think we are pretty confident taking second in the first two tournaments,’ Orlandini added. ‘I think we are feeling confident going into next weeks tournament in Arizona.’?