Women’s volleyball loses eighth consecutive match, heads home

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The Matador women’s volleyball team cannot find a way to win, as they fell victim over the weekend to UC Santa Barbara on Oct. 14 in four games and were swept by Cal Poly on Oct. 15.

Against the Gauchos, Freshman Jenn Probert’s 16 kills were not enough, as the Matadors lost 26-30, 30-26, 16-30 and 24-30.

Along with Probert, freshman Harmony Burdine narrowly missed a double-double with nine kills and 13 digs. Freshmen Hilary Brinkman and Darla Donaldson each posted eight kills for CSUN, which hit .202 as a team. Junior libero Jamie Crawford posted a match-high 23 digs and freshman Kayla Wright had a double-double with 43 assists and 12 digs.

For UCSB, junior Janine Sandell recorded 24 kills. Freshman Lauren McLaughlin added 20 kills and senior Megan Blackshire had 16. McLaughlin also added a team-high 18 digs for the Gauchos, who hit .318 as a team. With the win, the Gauchos improved its overall record to 9-7 and 5-1 in the conference play.

“I think everyone played well against Santa Barbara,” head coach Jeff Stork said. “In games one and four, we were competitive and we won game two. In game three, we were just not in it.”

The situation worsened as the Matadors traveled to San Luis Obispo, losing 30-16, 30-11 and 30-22 to Cal Poly in front of a large Mustang crowd.

CSUN could not get its offense going as they hit a season low -.065. Probert led the team with seven kills while freshman Val Kepler had six kills. Kepler hit .176 and was the only Matador player to hit higher then .000 for the match. Wright had 22 assists and Crawford recorded a team-high 13 digs.

With the loss, the Matadors dropped its eighth-straight match and fell to 3-15 overall and 1-6 in the Big West Conference.

The Mustangs were led by senior Vanessa Gilliam’s 11 kills and freshman Kylie Atherstone 10. Cal Poly received 34 assists from sophomore Chelsea Hayes and a match-high 14 digs from Kristin Jackson as the Mustangs avenged a 3-1 loss in Northridge earlier this season. With the win, the Mustangs improved to 13-4 overall and 6-2 in the Big West.

“Cal Poly is much improved from when we played them last,” Stork said. “They didn’t allow us to get into any offensive rhythm. The environment created a lot of distractions, but they handled it well.”

CSUN returns home to open its longest homestand of the season starting this Thursday against CSU Fullerton.

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