The women’s volleyball team recorded two conference road victories, defeating Cal State Fullerton and UC Riverside on Oct. 13-14.
The Matadors were unphased by Friday the 13th as they defeated the Titans in five games, making a comeback in the final game to take the victory by scores of 30-21, 28-30, 30-28, 29-31 and finally 16-14.
“I think we showed a lot of composure when things were difficult,” head coach Jeff Stork said.
Stork was particularly proud of how his team handled the fifth game against Fullerton when they were down 14-8 and sided-out to score seven straight points, but believes that his team should have beat them in three games.
The Matadors had a very strong offense with four players owning kills in the double digits. Harmony Burdine led CSUN, finishing with a total of 19 kills.
“This was a tougher match for us,” Burdine said. “But we did our best and came through in the end.”
For the Titans, Deven Bukoski finished with a career-high 18 kills and 16 digs. Fullerton had a higher rate of blocking, totaling 10-9. The strongest blocker of the match was Amanda Pfielschiefter with five total (four assists and one solo block).
Matadors Darla Donaldson and Hilary Brinkman both had five block assists each.
“Our defense was pretty good for those first two games,” Donaldson said.
Records were set on Oct. 13 when Vanessa Vella collected 32 digs, totaling 1,394 digs in her career. This was a best total in all of Fullerton history.
With the win, Northridge improved to 11-5 overall and 4-1 in Big West Conference play.
Following the Fullerton match the Matadors traveled to Riverside to take on the Highlanders. Northridge defeated Riverside in a total of four matches (25-30, 30-25, 30-25, 30-25) at the Student Recreation Center.
Siara Grayson finished with a career-high 18 kills.
“I was really excited, I had no idea that I had gotten (a career high),” Grayson said.
Burdine added 12 kills of her own and a career-high 22 digs.
“I think we did a really good job,” Burdine said. “We didn’t really know what to expect but we pulled through.”
Dominique Cowling from UCR had a match high of 19 kills. Ashley Halperin contributed to the Highlander offense with 14 kills. Setter Brittney Murrey finished with 35 assists.
Game one went to the Highlanders, who had a much stronger hitting percentage, hitting .273. The Matadors had .064. “I would give UCR a lot of credit,” Stork said. “They’re a very good blocking team.”
Game two remained close. With the game tied at 16, the Matadors took a 5-1 run to take the lead. The Matdors managed to keep them at bay for the win.
The Matadors started off the third game very strong with a comfortable cushion of 10-1, but faced a determined opponent. The Highlanders fought their way back into the game, closing the gap to 21-17. CSUN was able to overcome the Riverside charge, defeating them by a final score of 30-25.
“We did pretty well overall,” Grayson said. “We probably could have done better, but we still finished strong.”
The closest of all games was game four, which consisted of 12 ties. The final occurred with the score at 22. The victory went to CSUN at 30-25.
Coach Stork felt that being able to win these types of close rallies shows a sign of maturity in a team that does not give points away late in the set.
The Matadors remain optimistic for their home game against UC Santa Barbara Oct. 19.
“We know that it’s an important match. I see this team doing very well,” Stork said.