Don’t let her age fool you. Darla Donaldson, sophomore middle blocker, walks around with a smile, but that all changes once she enters the court. The six-foot-four Matador shining star is well known among her enemies for her excellence.
“When I am in the court, it is a different type of focus and getting my team together,” said Donaldson, an interior design major.
“She is not (the) most vocal (player on the court),” said five-year head coach Jeff Stork. “But she leads by example. Her teammates look for (her) to get the job done.”
Donaldson who turns 21 on Sept. 29, reached double figures on Sept. 22. She helped lead the Matadors to victory over the Fullerton Titans with 11 kills, eight blocks and four aces.
Donaldson leads the team in kills with 141 and hitting percentage with an average of .340.
played for four years at Chaparral High School in and is now in her second year playing for CSUN.
“We always knew that she (would) be a good player,” Stork said. “It is a question of her concentration and so far we like what we see.”
The Matadors have already shown improvement from their 4-23 performance in 2005 by doubling their win total in the first half of the 2006 season. The Matadors are 8-4 overall and 2-0 in Big West conference play.
“We had so much training in (the) spring,” Donaldson said. “We know (what) losing feels like game after game and we don’t like it.”
“She does all the things we’ve been asking of her,” Stork said. “We are going to add on as much as we can, but she still needs a lot of development.”
This year’s team is made up of four freshmen, eight sophomores and two seniors.
“The coaching staff has me improving mechanics of my game all around the court,” Donaldson said. “But I still have a lot of improvement to do in the back row.”
“She touches the ball very well at the high position,” Stork said. “She just needs a little more strength and flexibility.”
Hoping to play for the Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) one day, Donaldson sees herself as a volleyball coach later in life.
“People around me make me who I am,” Donaldson said, who looks up to her older sister Rachael as her role model and personal mentor. “She always has the right answer for every question I would have.”
“Our team is a group of sisters,” said Donaldson. “This is my family away from home.”
“If there is going to be anybody who can do it (take us to play offs) I think (she) is it,” Stork said.