Tough road ahead for CSUN

The CSUN women’s volleyball team will look to end their six-game losing streak as they head out on the road this weekend to face conference rivals UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly.

First up for Matadors will be the Gauchos on Oct. 14 at the Thunderdome. UCSB has won four straight matches after suffering four straight losses prior. The Gauchos lead the Big West Conference with a 4-1 record.

UCSB Junior Janine Sandell is tied for the Big West lead in kills per game at 4.93. Setter Ashley Dutro leads the UCSB offense with 10.93 assists per game. Friday’s match will be the 22nd meeting all-time between the Matadors and Gauchos, with UC Santa Barbara holding an 18-3 advantage.

CSUN is 1-9 over 10 matches at the Thunderdome and has not won in Santa Barbara in 13 years. Head coach Kathy Gregory is in her 31st season with the Gauchos and has a 752-314 overall record.

The next match for the Matadors will be the following night at Mott Gym in San Luis Obispo against Cal Poly. The Mustangs host Pacific on Friday before playing the Matadors on Saturday. The Mustangs have won four of its last five matches to improve to 11-4 on the season. Senior Vanessa Gilliam is tied with Sandell for the Big West lead in kills per game at 4.93.

Head coach Jon Stevenson is in his first season with the Mustangs and is 93-65 overall in his sixth season of coaching.

Saturday’s match will be the 36th meeting between the Matadors and Mustangs with CSUN holding a 20-15 advantage in the series. CSUN won this season’s first meeting 3-1 at Northridge, which was showcased by freshman Harmony Burdine’s team-high 15 kills and 15 digs.

“We have seen tape on (Santa Barbara and Cal Poly) and they are both very good teams,” head coach Jeff Stork said. “We are expecting tough matches and it is a great opportunity to see what kind of road team we are.”

In the latest Big West statistics, junior Jamie Crawford remains second in digs per game, averaging 5.18. Crawford trails CS Fullerton’s Vanessa Vella by 0.4 digs per game. Besides Crawford, the only other Matador players to rank among the top 10 in the Big West are freshmen Kayla Wright and Val Kepler. Wright remains eighth in the conference in assists per game at 10.68 while Kepler remains eighth in blocks at 1.03 per game.

Stork is already third on CSUN’s all-time coaching win list with 47, surpassing Linda Hoffman (46-15) who coached at CSUN for two years, from 1975-76.

After Saturday’s match at Cal Poly, the Matadors return home to begin a four-match homestand, starting Oct. 20 against CS Fullerton.

Justin Satzman can be reached at