Women’s volleyball heads north to face Pacific

Daily Sundial

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After three straight loses, the CSUN women’s volleyball team looks to get back on track against conference rival Pacific in Stockton on Oct. 1.

The Tigers, who opened the Big West season with a 3-0 loss at Cal State Fullerton, snapped a two-match losing skid with a 3-1 victory at UC Riverside on Sept. 24.

Senior outside hitter Ashley Groothuis had 22 kills and sophomore Kara Uhl, who averages 2.40 kills per game, had 18 kills and 26 digs in the Tigers win. Groothuis currently leads the Tigers in kills averaging with 4.57 kpg, while senior Sidney Bennett averages 2.81 kpg. Junior setter Allison Ianni leads the Pacific offense averaging 11.70 assists per game Head coach Jayne McHugh is in her fifth season with the Tigers and has a 90-52 record.

Saturday’s match will be the 10th meeting between the Matadors and Tigers with Pacific holding a 7-6 lead in the series. Last season, the Matadors lost its home game to the Tigers, but extended its winning streak to two in Stockton, including a five-game, nail biting victory.

The Matadors last win came in the conference opener when the team beat Cal Poly 3-1 on Sept. 17. Since then, CSUN lost 3-0 to Loyola Marymount, blew a two game lead to conference rival UCR and lost 3-2. The Matadors were swept by CSU Fullerton, which is also a conference rival.

Matador freshmen lead the team in most stat categories. The three leading hitters, freshmen Jenn Probert, Darla Donaldson and Harmony Burdine, have accounted for nearly 60 percent of the CSUN offense. Probert leads the team with 162 kills followed by Donaldson, who has 150 kills, and Burdine with 122 kills. Freshman setter Kayla Wright is the team leader in double-doubles with five, averaging 10.65 assists per game, which ranks her seventh in the big west.

In the latest Big West statistics, Jamie Crawford remains second in digs per game, averaging 5.12 digs per game. Besides Crawford, the only other Matador players to rank among the top 10 in the Big West are Wright and freshman Val Kepler, who ranks ninth in blocks, averaging 1.02 a game.

As a team, CSUN ranks as high as fourth in the Big West in team digs (15.86), and are seventh in most other categories. The Matadors are seventh in hitting percentage at .189 per game, kills at 14.37 per game, and at blocks at 2.06 per game. CSUN ranks eighth in assists and aces with 2.06 per game and 1.41 per game.

Saturday’s match closes a tough stretch of road matches for the Matadors. Since Sept. 2, CSUN played 10 matches overall with eight being played away from the Matadome. The Matadors next two matches will be Oct. 7 against CSU Long Beach and Oct. 8 against UC Davis. Both matches will begin at 7 p.m. at the Matadome.

“Despite the losses, we are improving as a team,” Head Coach Jeff Stork said. “We are facing different and better teams from whom we (are) learning from.”

Justin Satzman can be reached at justin.satzman@csun.edu.