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CSUN women’s volleyball makes small progress in 2010

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The Matadors finished 13-19 overall and 5-11 in the Big West this past season. Also head coach Jeff Stork won his 100th game in 2010. Photo Credit: Oscar Ortega Contributing Photographer

The women’s volleyball team had high expectations coming into the 2010 season, but came up short finishing the season with an overall record of 13-19 and 5-11 in the Big West.

“We played really good volleyball,” said CSUN head coach Jeff Stork. “It was a team effort. All in all, I think the girls played their hearts out.”

The Matadors started the season with news that sophomore outside hitter Britney Graff would be out the whole season due to a shoulder injury. Graff was named to the Big West All-Freshman Team in 2009 and was set to become a main factor on the team in 2010 before her injury. As a freshman, Graff had 287 kills and 262 digs along with 21 service aces and 45 blocks.

Filling in nicely for Graff was freshman opposite hitter Natalie Allen. Allen finished the season with 363 kills and 254 digs. Allen is the first freshman to lead the Matadors in kills since senior outside hitter Brittany Williams did it in 2007. Allen’s 363 kills are the most kills in a season by a freshman since Laura Walter had 404 kills in 1998.

“She (Allen) has really good hand control and very good vision,” Stork said. “She understands the defenses so she puts the ball, even though it doesn’t look like she hits that hard, she still finds the opening.”

The Matadors, who were predicted to finish eighth in the Big West, finished in seventh place, just two games behind UC Davis. Going into conference play, the Matadors were 6-8. CSUN lost its first four conference games before winning its first Big West game against UC Riverside. The Matadors ended the season winning four out of their last seven games.

“There were definitely times where we were stuck in ruts,” said senior middle blocker Lynda Morales. “We didn’t play so well on the road, but when it came to playing at home we definitely brought our games.”

The Matadors were 4-9 on the road and 5-6 at the Matadome in the season.

This was the best season for the Matadors since 2007 when they went 13-18 overall and 7-9 in the Big West.

For Stork, this was a historical season. The Matador win on Sept. 18 notched the 100th career win for Stork as CSUN’s head coach.  Stork now has a total of 107 wins and 155 losses in nine years as head coach. Stork’s best season with the Matadors came in 2004 when the team went 17-11 and made it to the NCAA Tournament.

In the 2011 season, 11 players will be returning for the Matadors. Junior setter Sam Orlandini is currently in third place in school history with 2,608 career assists and is only 1,000 assists shy of moving past Alison Wool for second place in Matador history.

The four seniors on this year’s team were Morales, Williams, defensive specialist/libero Karina Woehrstein and outside hitter Janet Alvarado.

Morales finished her Matador career with 457 block assists and 492 total blocks. Morales is the all-time leader in Matador history in block assists and total blocks. She is also fourth in Matador history with 440 career sets played.

Williams, who was slowed by a knee injury, moved into the top-10 in career attacks with 2,536 in her four-year career with the Matadors.

This was the 36th season of women’s volleyball at CSUN.  The program is only three wins shy of 700 wins.

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