The CSUN women’s volleyball team dropped three straight sets after winning the first set in the home opener loss to No. 13 UCLA on Tuesday night (22-25, 25-21, 25-15, 25-14).
The Matadors (3-7) took the exciting first set (25-22) with the help from sophomore Monica McFarland, who had a team-high seven kills.
“It was an unavailable set, we controlled the rhythm and sideouts,” head coach Jeff Stork said. “I was really happy with the outcome, played an overall good game as a team, running on all cylinders.”
Freshman opposite hitter Mahina Haina, added five kills in the first set of her home debut.
“I was excited and nervous but we played well and had fun in that first set,” Haina said. “UCLA is a great team, they adjusted to us after that first set.”
Senior middle blocker Lynda Morales started the game with the first kill, and after a 3-3 tie, the Matadors whet on a 4-0 run, forcing the Bruins (8-1) to call timeout.
The Bruins came back to tie the match at 11. A couple kills by Haina put CSUN back up, 17-13.
UCLA came back with a couple kills of its own, forcing CSUN to call a timeout. Sam Orlandini then came up with a big block, putting the team back up at 23-21.
After a couple back and forth plays by both teams, senior libero Karina Woehrstein came up with a few saves. Soon after, the Matadors took the first set.
Junior sette Orlandini was setting the ball right on the hitters hands, having all of the team’s 15 sets, while the Bruins only had 14 as a team.
“It was the best feeling we have had all season long in beating a team like UCLA,“ Orlandini said about the first set. “I Thought it was going to get better but we didn’t start the sets strong and our energy level got lower as the match went on.”
The Bruins came out strong in the second set with five unanswered points, forcing CSUN to call its first timeout of the set.
The Matadors crawled back to get within one point, 11-12.
Northridge fell behind 20-16, with the Bruins stretching the lead due to CSUN’s served errors and missed blocks. After a few back and forth set points, the Bruins won the set.
“Our passing broke down and had hideout errors,” Stork said.
The Matadors started the third set rusty, calling its first timeout after trailing 8-3.
Northridge started to gain momentum as junior opposite hitter Una Siljegovic came off the timeout with a kill.
After a few sideout errors by the Matadors, the Bruins cruised to win the third set.
“They [UCLA] made some changes,” Stork said about the Bruins play in set three. “We needed to focus on our tactics rather than personnel.
The Bruins started the forth set strong, forcing the Matadors to call their first time after trailing 11-4.
The team finally got a point with a block from Morales followed by an ace, closing the scoring gap 11-6.
CSUN finally forced UCLA to call timeout after going on a five-point run. Orlandini added a hit and an ace in that run. Making her Matadome debut, freshman opposite hitter Natalie Allen added a kill, making it 14-10.
The momentum shifted once again as the Bruins won its ninth game of the season after a Matador serving error ended the match.
“We had 22 hitting errors in the last three sets, we can’t do that,” Stork said. We’ll work on those changes in training.”
According to Orlandini, who had a solid match with 37 out of the team’s 45 sets, hitting a team-high .286, the team must work on its passing and she must improve her setting location.
The next home game for the Matadors will be on Sept. 21.
Northridge will head to Las Vegas this weekend to compete in the UNLV Classic against the Runnin’ Rebels (3-6) on Friday, and against Xavier (5-4) and San Jose State (4-6) on Saturday.