In a huge upset, the Matador women’s volleyball team beat Cal Poly in four games on Sept. 17, winning its Big West Conference opener, and snapping the Mustangs’ seven-game win streak.
With the win, the Matadors broke a four-game losing streak dating back to Sept. 3.
“I’m surprised because Cal Poly is ranked number one in the conference and the last couple of matches our play has been a wreck, for some reason we just really pulled it together tonight,” said junior libero Jaime Crawford, who had 15 digs for the Matadors and three setting assists. “It wasn’t our best game, but I haven’t seen that fire in my team in any of the matches we have played before it. It was nice to have the fans and that home feeling. We just clicked a little bit better.”
The Matadors dropped the first game 30-22 before pulling even by winning the second match 32-30. After the teams returned to the field, the Matadors managed to dominate the Mustangs in set three, 30-28. Finally CSUN sent Cal Poly packing by beating them in the four games, 30-23.
Freshman outside hitter Harmony Burdine recorded seven of her team-high 15 kills in game three, hitting .216. She also registered six blocks to go along with her career-high 15 digs.
With the win, the Matadors now have a record of 3-7 overall, but are more importantly 1-0 in Big West play. Cal Poly has seven wins on the season with three loses and a 0-1 record in conference.
Over the last 21 seasons the Matadors are 16-6 in conference openers while improving their record to 19-3 in conference home- openers.
After the match, the focus of both teams laid on the job done by referee, Tana Martin who was constantly battling with both sidelines.
“I thought the referee ruined the match, she was the worst ref I ever saw,” said Rafael Paal, assistant coach of the Mustangs. “She failed to spot countless miss-handled balls in the second and third game that would have given us the win – simple as that.”
In game one, the Mustangs were called for five attacking errors, hitting .312 percent. In set two they were called for nine errors, hitting .053 percent.
Game three saw eight errors, as they hit a dismal .128 percent. In set four, Cal Poly presented an all-night low, as the team hit zero percent, with eight errors.
“We had a lot of bad calls on us too,” said Crawford, who came into the match ranked No. 26 in the NCAA in digs per game and Big West leader in digs. “It was just a mutual bad ref job.”
The Matadors were called for 11 errors in game one, hitting .024 percent. In game two the team committed nine hitting errors at .116 percent. In the third set the team furnished six errors hitting .286 percent. The fourth set saw the Matadors hand over nine hitting errors at .171 percent.
The Matadors will entertain Loyola Marymount tonight in a non-conference clash at 7 p.m. at the Matadome. LMU is an impressive 9-1 on the season, winners of its last four.
The team will then take its show on the road for three conference games against UC Riverside, Cal State Fullerton and Pacific.
Crawford has stepped up as a leader in the locker-room, having played for the last two season’s in the Matador red, white, and black.
“We’re an all freshman team,” said Crawford, one of the five returning players from last season’s squad. “It’s difficult for someone returning to have a brand new team because you really want to fire them up, but they’re a good group of girls and they fire themselves up.”
A quote was incorrectly attributed to Cal Poly women’s volleyball team assistant coach Rafael Paal. The actual source of the quote was head coach Jon Stevenson.
Malik Lee can be reached at email@example.com.