CSUN women’s volleyball travels to Las Vegas for final tournament

Christina Azouz

Matador Natalie Allen (9) goes up for the ball against Dicey McGraw of UCLA, Tuesday night at the Matadome. Photo Credit: Patrick Dilanchian Contributing Photographer

The CSUN women’s volleyball team looks to end their two-game losing streak this weekend at the UNLV Classic. The Matadors will face UNLV, Xavier and San Jose State in LV.

The Matadors (3-7) are coming off back-to-back loses against Portland State and UCLA in which they had a combined 55 attacking errors.

“We have to diminish our errors,” CSUN head coach Jeff Stork said. “We have to play under control and continue to work hard.”

The Matadors first opportunity to diminish their errors will come on Friday when they face host Runnin’ Rebels. CSUN leads the all-time series against UNLV 2-1.  The two teams have not met since 2006 when the Rebels beat the Matadors in three straight sets in Las Vegas.

UNLV (3-5) is also coming off back-to-back loses against Pepperdine and Cal State Fullerton at the UNLV Invitational. Senior outside hitter Sara Nehf leads the Rebels with 93 kills and junior setter/outside hitter Amanda Alles leads the team with 234 assists.

CSUN’s next opponent, the Musketeers are on a three-game winning streak after capturing the Butler Invitational title. Senior setter Claire Paszkiewicz, who was named Tournament MVP, leads the Musketeers with 365 assists and 19 blocks.  Senior outside hitter Shannon Voors leads the team with 129 kills. Paszkiewicz and senior outside hitter Chelsea Campbell were both named to the All-Tournament Team for their performance in the Butler Invitational.

CSUN leads the all-time series with Xavier, 1-0.  The teams last played each other in 2006 when CSUN beat Xavier in three straight sets.

CSUN’s final opponent of the tournament is San Jose State (4-6).  The Matadors lead the all-time series 6-4.  Their last meeting was in 2006 when the Matadors defeated the Spartans in five sets in San Jose.

The Spartans are 3-0 in their last three games, with those victories coming in the San Jose State Tournament. Freshman left side hitter Hanah Blume leads the Spartans with 96 kills and senior libero Courtney Zellmer leads the team with 130 digs. Sophomore setter Caitlin Andrade has 327 of the 388 total assists for the Spartans.

“We have to play together more,” freshman opposite hitter Natalie Allen said.  “The first set (against UCLA) showed how good we can be.”

In Allen’s first game at the Matadome, she had 10 kills and seven digs against the Bruins on Tuesday. Allen is sixth in the Big West Conference in kills.  Senior middle blocker Lynda Morales is second in the Big West Conference in blocks.

The Matadors will focus on many things for the UNLV Classic.

“We want to speed up our offense and minimize our errors,” junior setter Sam Orlandini said. “We have high hopes for this tournament.”

The Matadors are feeling good going into the final tournament of the season.

“We just have to stay positive,” said Stork, who is three wins away from his 100th career win as CSUN’s head coach.

The Matadors next home game is on Sep. 21 against Loyola Marymount at the Matadome.