Matadors women’s volleyball start Big West Conference with losses

Christina Azouz

Matador Janet Alvarado spikes ball with two defenders in front of her at Friday night’s game. Photo Credit: Melissa Carr / Contributing Photographer

The women’s volleyball team opened Big West Conference play on a sour note losing their first two games at the Matadome this weekend.

Northridge played host to the University of California, Santa Barbara where it lost in five sets in a thriller Friday night and to Cal Poly in three sets on Saturday.

CSUN vs. UCSB

The Matadors (6-10 overall) (0-2 conference record) hit a match low, .023 in the first set compared to .237 by UCSB.

“We didn’t come out too energized,” sophomore defensive specialist/ libero Cindy Ortiz said. “Then we started playing better as the set went on.”

The Matadors never got a lead in the set and trailed by as many as 10 points. Ortiz led the team with seven digs and junior setter Sam Orlandini led with eight assists.

“There were too many errors in that (first) set,” CSUN head coach Jeff Stork said. “We had more than what we should have had.”

The second match went down to the wire with UCSB winning 28-26.  The Matadors had the lead at 24-23 after a kill by sophomore outside hitter/defensive specialist Monica McFarland but they could not pull out the win. The set had eight ties and four lead changes.

CSUN won the third (25-19) and fourth (26-24) sets behind the play of senior outside hitter/defensive Janet Alvarado and freshman outside hitter Mahina Haina. Haina and Alvarado each had seven kills in the two sets. 

“I’m not shocked that they did that,” Ortiz said.  “That’s normal for them. That’s what they do.”

Stork was happy with the adjustments that were made before the third set, which led to the teams two wins.

But for the Matadors, those changes did not help them in the fifth set, where they trailed the entire time. Haina led the team with 17 kills and Alvarado finished the match with 14 kills.

CSUN vs. Cal Poly

The Matadors lost a close first set 25-22. Haina led the team with five kills and McFarland led with five digs. There were 16 ties and four lead changes in the set. The Matadors hit .152 and Cal Poly hit .219. 

CSUN led for the majority of the second set but could not hold on to the victory. The lone lead change in the set came when the Mustangs took the lead at 23-22.  Cal Poly scored the last two points of the set to win 25-23. CSUN shot .180 and converted 56 percent of their sideout opportunities while the Mustangs hit .200 and converted 60 percent of their sideout.

“One play makes a big difference in a close game,” Stork said.

The Matadors lost the third and final set 25-19. CSUN never got any rhythm going in the third set and the closest they got was 22-19 after a kill by senior middle blocker Lynda Morales.

CSUN’s next conference game will be on the road as they take on UC Davis on Friday.