The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Matadors have poor tournament outing

CSUN women’s volleyball head coach Jeff Stork knew the ASU Sheraton Hotel Invitational was going to be the toughest of the four-team tournaments this season. After all, the competition was far better than what the Matadors had seen at the Boise State or Sacramento State competitions.

Cincinnati, Montana and Arizona State are all teams that usually play in the postseason.

Still, Northridge went into Arizona over the weekend mentally-prepared for three tough matches and feeling confident that they could continue their solid tournament play.

As it turned out, though, the Matadors had their worst showing in a tournament so far this season, dropping games to the Bearcats and Sun Devils while winning a lone game against the Grizzlies.

‘We played well a lot of the times, but not well enough other times,’ Stork said.

The Cincinnati and CSUN squads had met only once, in 2005, before they faced each other during Friday’s opener. The Bearcats defeated the Matadors 3-1, then. Results were similar this time around, as Cincinnati swept Northridge in three sets by scores of 25-22, 25-18 and 25-17.

Sophomore outside hitter Brittany Williams was the lone Northridge hitter to reach double-figures as she tallied 12 kills in 23 swings for a .304 hitting percentage. She also added a pair of blocks in the loss. Senior outside hitter Jenn Probert came off the bench to add six kills while outside hitters Siara Grayson and Angela Hupp each added four kills of their own. Freshman setter Sam Orlandini posted 27 assists and six digs, but the Matadors struggled on the offensive end as they hit .117 as a team.

The Bearcats had been struggling prior to the Invitational. Despite owning a 4-2 record going into the match against the Matadors, Cincinnati had lost two straight after opening the season with four wins.

But Northridge’s inability to hold a late lead in both the first and the second set was ultimately the reason the Bearcats ended their losing streak with a sweeping bang.

‘Cincinnati is an outstanding team,’ Stork said. ‘They passed well, served well, and blocked very well.’

After the defeat, the Matadors bounced back with a sweep of their own, defeating Montana by scores of 25-21, 25-17 and 25-22.

‘We passed much better against Montana than we did against Cincinnati, which allowed us to get the ball into (middle blocker) Lynda (Morales) a little more,’ said Stork. ‘She contributed in a bunch of different ways and her attacking was something special tonight. (She) and Sam (Orlandini) were connecting very well tonight, but it boiled down to how much better we passed the ball.’

Morales had 12 of Northridge’s 40 kills while committing just two hitting errors. The sophomore also added four blocks and one ace. Probert contributed nine kills and four blocks while Hupp added eight kills.

With the win, the Matadors improved their series history with the Grizzlies to 9-4.

The Matadors had a chance to win at least two of three tournament matches for the third straight weekend with a win over host Arizona State, but similarly to the match against the Bearcats, Northridge had a hard time closing sets.

‘The match against Arizona State could have gone either way,’ assistant coach Kiran Mistry said. ‘The final few points of the first and second sets could have gone either way.’

In the end, the Sun Devils (8-2) picked up those crucial points and defeated the Matadors in three sets by scores of 25-16, 25-22 and 25-20 to go undefeated and claim first place in their own tournament.

The Matadors (5-4) struggled on offense as they only hit .091 (39-27-132) as a team. Arizona State had a solid hitting percentage at .245 (35-9-106) in the match and committed just four hitting errors in the first two sets.

Defeating the Sun Devils has not been an easy task for anybody in the past. This season has been no different.

‘Arizona State is a very good team,’ Stork had said before the beginning of the tournament. ‘They play in the Pac-10, which is a difficult conference.’

The Matadors will begin play of their final tournament Friday, when they travel to Malibu to play in the Pepperdine Invitational.

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