The CSUN women’s volleyball team split their two matches in the UNLV Invitational Tournament held at the Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas on Sept. 8 through Sept. 9.
The Matadors opened up Sept. 8 with a win over the Xavier Musketeers, but fell short against their host, UNLV Rebels, on Sept. 9.
With the split, the Matadors’ record now stands at 3-4.
CSUN managed to put the Musketeers away in three straight games winning the matches by scores of 30-17, 30-18 and 30-20.
“I think we’re getting better,” said head coach Jeff Stork. “I liked what I saw against Xavier.”
The Musketeers are a great offensive team but struggle on the defensive side, Stork said.
The Matadors got things rolling early in game one. Tied at two, CSUN managed to pull ahead and hold the lead for the rest of the match-up.
A 10-2 run gave the Matadors a commanding lead before Xavier managed to cut the lead down 12-8. The Matadors went on another big run of 11-3 to keep Xavier at bay.
The Matadors’ offensive runs continued in game two. A 13-3 run helped the Matadors take a 10 -point lead and help secure a victory. CSUN’s 20 kills and .514 hitting percentage in game two added to the Musketeers troubles.
Game three proved to be a closer game than the previous two. The Musketeers managed to stay within reach of the Matadors, but were unable to take the lead late in the match. With a 21-17 lead, the Matadors finished off the game with a 9-3 run to complete the sweep.
Outside hitter Harmony Burdine led CSUN with 10 kills for the match, while hitting .250. Setter Angela Hupp and middle blocker Darla Donaldson had strong performances as well with eight kills each, hitting at .375 and .583 respectively. Outside hitter Siara Grayson added seven kills and hit at .467. Setter Kayla Wright led the Matadors in assists with 13, while Hupp added another 11. Libero Amy Hultner led the team in digs, with 13 for the match.
The Matadors hit for a percentage of .354, while Xavier hit only .075. The Musketeers were also out-blocked by the Matadors, 11-5. Donaldson led the Matadors with six blocks.
UNLV’s outside hitter Danielle Skrajewski and middle blocker Jill Quayle recorded seven kills each. Lauren Kaminsky had 12 digs and Jenn Walsh had a match-high 25 assists.
In a reversal of fortune, the Matadors next lost three straight games to host UNLV Rebels on Saturday.
Unable to ride the momentum from the night before, Northridge struggled throughout the match, recording a hitting percentage of only .055, in contrast to the Rebels, who hit at .300. Also contributing to Northridge’s loss were 28 errors, compared to only 15 by the Rebels.
“We made way too many hitting errors,” Stork said. “That’s something we’ll address in practice this week.”
UNLV was led by outside hitters Brittani Lumsden and Jessica Walters, each with 11 kills. Lumsden also contributed 11 digs. Setter Melody Nua had a match-high 36 assists and libero Jada Walker led the Rebels in digs with 18. Middle blocker Lauren Miramontes had a team high .462 hitting percentage.
For CSUN, Donaldson and middle blocker Val Kepler each had eight kills. Wright led the Matadors in assists with 16, while Hupp contributed 12 assists. Outside hitter Kelley Hanson had a team-high 13 digs for CSUN. Donaldson led the Matadors with a .389 hitting percentage while four Matadors were in negative percentages.
UNLV went on to win the tournament 3-0, with CSUN and UC Santa Barbara both coming in at 1-1. Xavier came in last at 0-3. UNLV’s record is now 7-2 for the season.
Next for the Matadors is the San Jose State University Hyatt Invitational Tournament where the Matadors will play Harvard on Sept. 15. On Sept. 16, Northridge will play Utah Valley at 1 p.m. and San Jose State at 7 p.m.