Women’s volleyball loses final home game to UCSB

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The CSUN Matador women’s volleyball team closed out its 2005 home schedule on a sour note, as the team was swept by the Big West-leading UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at the Matadome by scores of 30-23, 30-21 and 30-17.

Kayla Wright had 19 digs and Jamie Crawford had 12 assists, but CSUN only hit .019 as a team. Jamie Sandell had a team-high 14 kills and 12 digs for the Gauchos, Bethany Johansen had 11 kills, Lauren McLaughlin also had 12 digs and Ashley Dutro had 34 assists. The loss drops CSUN to 4-12, 2-10 in Big West Conference play, while UC Santa Barbara improved to 17-8, 12-2 in conference play.

“We were a little off,” said freshman outside hitter Harmony Burdine. “We’ve been practicing really hard and it was like we were expecting to come out and beat this team, but we didn’t come out strong.”

Things did not start out well in the first game for CSUN as they quickly fell behind 4-0 before Jenn Probert got CSUN on the board with a kill off Gaucho Ashley Dutro. CSUN scored four of the next six points to close the deficit to 6-4. Santa Barbara, however, did not flinch, as they quickly went on a 7-2 run stretching the lead to 13-6.

The Matadors hung tough, and trailing 21-13 caught fire. Wright caught Santa Barbara off guard with a touch-kill into an open spot, then Burdine smashed two kills to force a Gaucho timeout. UCSB’s McLaughlin stopped the momentum with a kill. Santa Barbara then failed to get the ball over the net on its next set, but Megan Blackshire made up for the error with her own kill, giving the Gauchos a 23-18 lead.

Matador Jenn Probert smashed a kill, closing the deficit to 23-21. UCSB then ran off six in a row, on its way to winning the first game 30-23.

In the second game, Santa Barbara jumped out a 4-1 lead. CSUN then traded the next two points to close the deficit to 6-3 on a Hilary Brinkman kill off Johansen and Blackshire, UCSB then scored four in a row and Brett Quirarte’s kill gave Santa Barbara a 10-3 lead.

The Gauchos continued to stay hot, scoring four of the next five points to take a 14-4 lead, the first double-digit lead of the match. CSUN trailed 20-9 at one point before storming back. Kill attempts by Johansen and McLaughlin went wide, and Probert’s ace forced a Santa Barbara timeout. Wright and Val Kepler kept the momentum going with a kill-block. Then Blackshire stemmed the tide with a kill of her own, but CSUN refused to wilt, scoring three in a row to close the deficit to 21-17. With the lead growing to 24-17, Santa Barbara scored three more points, following a Harmony Burdine kill, to take a commanding 27-18 lead. Another Burdine kill and an ace by Wright kept CSUN in the match, but the Gauchos ultimately came out on top 30-21.

In the third game, UCSB jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but a Burdine kill and a shot to the net by Johansen tied the score. The Gauchos took a 4-2 lead on a serve by Burdine that went long. The ensuing possession Johansen blocked a Brinkman kill attempt, but Probert smashed another kill to tie the game once more.

The Gauchos caught fire scoring five in a row to take a 9-4 lead. That run though was only the start of what turned out to be a dominant third game for the Gauchos. The team jumped out to huge leads of 19-8, 26-9 and finally 29-11. CSUN, however, would not go down without a fight, scoring seven in a row to cut the deficit to 29-17 before Sandell provided the final margin of victory.

CSUN closes out the 2005 season with two road games. The first against UC Irvine at the Bren Center on Nov. 17 and the last game of the season against Long Beach State at the Pyramid on Nov. 19.

“We’re real eager (to play again),” Burdine said. “We really want to win and we’ll do what its takes.”

Ivan Yeo can be reached at ivan.yeo.80@csun.edu.