CSUN women’s volleyball ends year against Big West leaders

Christina Azouz

Two Matador defenders try to stop a ball during a match against Pacific on Oct. 29. The Matadors last games of the season are at home this weekend. Photo credit: Oscar Ortega / Contributing Photographer

Northridge looks to close out the season on a high note when they take on the top two teams in the Big West Conference. 
CSUN will host Long Beach State on Friday and Cal State Fullerton on Saturday, at the Matadome.

The Matadors (12-18; 4-10 Big West) have won four out of their last five home games and are 4-5 at home for the season. In their last game at the Matadome, CSUN had an upset over UC Davis 3-2.

CSUN is coming off of a 2-2 road trip where they beat Cal State Bakersfield and UC Riverside and lost to Long Beach State and UC Irvine.

In its last matchup with Long Beach State (21-6, 11-3 Big West), the 49ers beat CSUN in three straight sets. Freshman opposite hitter Natalie Allen led the Matadors with 10 kills and sophomore outside hitter/defensive specialist Monica McFarland led the Matadors with 12 digs. Junior outside hitter Caitlin Ledoux led the 49ers with 16 kills and sophomore outside hitter Janisa Johnson led the 49ers with 19 digs.  The win for Long Beach State extended its winning streak to five games and snapped the Matadors three-game winning streak.

The last loss the 49ers suffered was on Oct. 29 at home against Cal Poly. Long Beach State is second in the Big West right behind Cal State Fullerton. 

The 49ers are second in the Big West in hitting percentage (.257) and are first in Big West in opponent hitting percentage (.149). Long Beach State is also first in the Big West with blocks per set (2.99). Ledoux is third in the Big West in kills (3.90 per set) while freshman middle blocker Haleigh Hampton is third in hitting percentage (.355) and first in blocks (161).

Just ahead of the 49ers in the Big West is Cal State Fullerton. The Titans (24-5, 12-2 Big West) are currently on a seven-game winning streak with their last loss coming on Oct. 23 against Long Beach State. 

When the Matadors faced the Titans earlier this season, CSUN lost in three straight sets. Senior middle blocker Lynda Morales led the Matadors with eight kills and Allen led the team with 12 digs. Senior middle blocker Erin Saddler led the Titans with 17 kills and senior defensive specialist/libero Cami Croteau led the team with 19 digs.

The Titans lead the Big West in hitting percentage (.259), assists per set (13.51), kills per set (14.45), service aces per set (1.33) and digs per set (17.19). Cal State Fullerton is also second in the conference in opponent hitting percentage (.172) and fifth in the Big West in blocks per set (2.14).

Saddler is second in the Big West in kills with 429. Junior setter Andrea Ragan is first in the Big West in assists per set with 11.78 and Croteau is first in the Big West in digs per set with 5.29.

For the Matadors, Morales is third in the Big West in blocks per set with 1.20 and junior setter Sam Orlandini is second in the Big West in service aces per set with 0.32.  As a team, CSUN is fourth in the Big West in service aces per set (1.20) and blocks per set (2.20).

The Matadors will play the spoiler role in these two games with Long Beach Sate and Cal State Fullerton battling each other for the conference championship.