The CSUN women’s volleyball team looks to snap a three-game losing streak as they visit Big West Conference rivals UC Davis on Friday and Pacific on Saturday.
The Matadors (6-10, 0-2 Big West) are trying to rebound after losing their first two conference games against UCSB and Cal Poly. In both games, the Matadors had late leads but could not hold on to the victories.
“We stop playing our game in those situations,” said sophomore outside hitter Monica McFarland.
The next time the Matadors have a late lead, McFarland said he thinks they will be better prepared for it.
“We’re working on our end of game situations at the end of every practice,” McFarland said. “In this drill, we have to play the last five points of the set and we can’t have any errors. The drill helps our blocking and point scoring a lot.”
According to CSUN head coach Jeff Stork, the Matadors will benefit from not having a game in the middle of the week.
“We haven’t been able to do that (drill) the past few weeks because we played a game midweek,” Stork said. “The rest helps, but the on-court training is most important.”
The first test for the Matadors will be the Aggies (10-4, 2-0 Big West), who are on a five-game winning streak. Two of the wins came against Big West teams (Pacific and UC Riverside). Sophomore outside hitter Allison Whitson leads the Aggies with 168 kills, and junior middle blocker Betsy Sedlak leads the team and the Big West Conference with a .487 hitting average.
The Matadors lost the last three games played against UC Davis but lead the all-time series 10-6. Last season, the Matadors lost to the Aggies in five sets on the road and lost in three sets at home.
McFarland said they are looking for revenge. “We want to take it to them, especially because we lost to them at the end of the fifth set the first time we played them last year.”
Stork believes the team’s overall performance needs to be better.
“If we play volleyball at our level, we’ll have a good shot,” he said. “If we don’t, then we won’t have a good shot at winning.”
The next challenge for CSUN is against Pacific (8-5 overall; 1-1 Big West). The Tigers are fresh off a victory against UC Riverside. Senior outside hitter Svenja Engelhardt leads Pacific with 225 kills and 13 service aces. Engelhardt is first in the Big West Conference in kills.
“She’s a very good volleyball player,” Stork said about Engelhardt. “To contain her, we need to have good blocking and good defense. Our main focus is not to beat one player—it’s to beat the team.”
The Matadors were 1-1 against the Tigers last season. CSUN lost the first match in three sets at Pacific and won the second match in five sets at the Matadome.
The next Matador home game takes place Oct. 6 at 7 p.m. against Cal State Bakersfield.