Matadors prepare for conference play

Victor Flores

Hoping to ride off the momentum of the five-game road trip, in which the CSUN women’s volleyball team won four out of five, the Matadors will look to continue their success at home today and Sept. 23.

Big West conference play kicks off Thursday with two matches followed by three matches over the weekend.

CSUN will begin conference play against the struggling UC Riverside Highlanders on Thursday followed by a match-up with a tough Cal State Fullerton Titans squad on Saturday.

The Matadors are eager to kick off conference play to see how they matchup against conference rivals.

Middle blocker Darla Donaldson, named Most Valuable Player of the SJSU Hyatt Invitational last weekend, leads the Matadors into conference play. Donaldson currently leads the Big West with a hitting percentage of .370. Donaldson also ranks third in blocks per game with a 1.35 average.

The Matadors will be looking for their first win at home. They went 0-2 in their first two home appearances when they hosted the Fremont Investment ‘ Loan Invitational.

The Matadors hope to break the current two-win streak the Highlanders hold on them. The Highlanders are currently 1-10 on the season including a sweep by UNLV. The Rebels also swept the Matadors during the UNLV classic Sept. 9.

CSUN currently leads the series against UC Riverside with a record of 36-16.

Outside hitter Ashley Halperin will be a concern for the Matadors. Halperin is ranked third in kills per game in the Big West with an average of 3.64.

CSUN will follow up with the Titans, who are currently on a six-game winning streak, and come to Northridge with an 11-1 record on the season. The Matadors, however, will be looking to duplicate past performances against Fullerton, as they lead the series match-up 17-6 with an 11-0 record at home. CSUN defeated the Titans in their last meeting.

The Titans are currently ranked second in the conference in hitting average, posting a .229. Fullerton has also managed to keep opponents to a low .129 hitting average, a conference best.

Fullerton lines up with two players in the top 10 hitting percentage leaders in the Big West.