The CSUN women’s volleyball team opened its 2010 season on the wrong foot, going 0-3 this weekend in the Aztec Invitational at San Diego State University’s Peterson Gym.
The Matadors lost in straight sets to San Diego State and the University of Cincinnati and went to five sets against the University of Northern Colorado in a losing effort.
CSUN vs. San Diego State
The Matadors (0-3) dropped their season opener on Friday to the Aztecs (25-21, 29-27, 30-28) on despite hitting .250 as a team compared to the Aztecs .211.
The Matadors did receive solid performances from sophomore libero Monica McFarland and freshman opposite hitter Natalie Allen, both finishing with an identical stat line having nine kills and hitting .333 with only one error in 24 swings.
The team also received contributions from senior opposite hitter Janet Alvarado, who added eight kills and hit .412, and freshman setter Sydney Gedryn added 32 assists in her collegiate debut.
CSUN vs. Cincinnati
The Matadors’ Saturday morning was a tough one, losing to Big East powerhouse Bearcats (2-1) in three sets (25-17, 25-19, 25-22) while only hitting .213.
The Matadors went in facing a tough opponent in the Bearcats and their best player, Stephanie Niemer, the 2010 Big East Preseason Player of the Year, who ended the match with 16 kills (.500).
Allen again, had nine kills and hitting .227, while McFarland added seven kills, hitting .211, five digs and five blocks against Cincinnati.
Freshman opposite hitter Mahina Haina contributed with six kills (.250) in her first collegiate game.
CSUN vs. Northern Colorado
The Matadors final match of the tournament went to five sets on Saturday evening, coming up short in a down to the wire match against the Bears (22-25, 25-23, 21-25, 25-23, 19-17).
Allen continued her well-played tournament performance against the Bears (1-2), nearly doubling her kills to 16 from the previous games and hitting .317 along with five aces.
McFarland also continued her solid performance, as she added 14 kills, 15 digs, and hitting .306.
Senior middle blocker Lynda Morales also played well, reaching double figures with 11 kills. Junior setter Sam Orlandini had a team tournament high with 47 assists.
CSUN took control of the match by winning the first two sets, but dropped the last two to narrow it down to a decisive fifth set.
The fourth set ended in a thriller-like match. Allen kept trying to keep the team alive by giving the final lead of the fourth set to the Matadors, who led 22-21 looking to wrap up the match. Two straight points by the Bears put them up 23-22 before Allen hit another kill to even the score at 23. Then, the Bears received back-to-back kills from Ashley Lichtenberg, sending the match to a fifth and final set.
Allen continued her great hitting with her 16th kill giving the Matadors their final lead of the set at 13-12. The Bears ended the match with a 19-17 win after both teams traded sideouts.
The Matadors will continue tournament play next weekend as they head to Sacramento to take on Elon, Texas-San Antonio and Sacramento State in the Sacramento State Invitational.