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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Home not-so-sweet: Matadors swept by UCLA on home-opener

The Matadors knew what to expect.

Leading up to their match with fourth-ranked UCLA, the Northridge women’s volleyball team watched enough film and read enough notes to get a precise scouting report on the Bruins. It was just a matter of executing.

‘Our scouting report was dead on,’ head coach Jeff Stork said. ‘It came down to our inability to execute. But give UCLA credit. The better team won.’

The better team against most opponents this season, the Bruins defeated the Matadors with a three-set sweep by scores of 25-15, 25-16 and 25-21 in the first game at the Matadome this season. UCLA extended its winning streak to six games and continued its dominance of college volleyball. They have now won 18 straight sets.

The first set saw the Bruins jump out to an early 8-2 lead, prompting Stork to call a timeout. The move paid dividends as Northridge came back to score six of the next seven points to cut the deficit to 9-8. However, the Bruins came back with a 7-2 run to extend the lead to 16-10.

The Bruins controlled much of the first set, relinquishing the lead just once and allowing the Matadors to tie the score on only two occasions. UCLA (7-1) put away the set on kills by senior Ali Daley and sophomores Dicey McGraw and Juliane Piggott. The Bruins’ offense proved to be too much for the Matadors’ defense in the set, attacking at a .520 percentage with 15 kills and only two errors in 25 swings. Northridge (5-5), on the other hand, was held to a -.061 percentage.

The Bruins held a 6-3 lead early in the second set when Stork decided to plug sophomore Brittany Williams into the game. Williams then tied up the score at six with one of her five second-set kills. From that point on, Northridge scored seven of the next 11 points to take a 13-10 lead. UCLA scored the next three on a Piggott kill, an ace by senior Jessica Fine and a Piggott/Amanda Gil-block to tie it at 13. Williams then proceeded to give Northridge the lead again at 14-13.

The Bruins fought and took the lead back for the fifth and final time of the set. Two timeouts by Stork couldn’t stop the Bruins from pulling away, as they scored 12 of the last 14 points.

‘[The 12-2 run] saw a lot of blocks from them and hitting errors by us,’ Stork said. ‘I’m not ready to give UCLA all the credit for that run.’

‘Our adjustments were unsuccessful,’ he added. ‘Teams who scout us well can pick our spots.’

The Matadors then had the daunting task of coming back from two sets down to one of the best teams in the nation. They put up a fight, but succumbed.

The third set was a closely-fought match with the Bruins holding a slim 17-15 lead midway through it. The Bruins extended the lead to 20-15, however, and never allowed the advantage to slim below three until the sweep was completed.

The Bruins had five blocks in the last set, two more than the Matadors had for the entire match.

Bruin setter Nellie Spicer posted 33 assists and a team-high nine digs in the win. Williams led the Matadors with 11 kills and just three hitting errors.

‘We stay conscious of not overlooking opponents and try to be consistent in our performance,’ UCLA head coach Andy Banachowski said. ‘We take every opponent seriously and work hard every set.’

CSUN freshman Sam Orlandini felt that, despite the loss, the Matadors are headed in the right direction.

‘We can (compete against) that team at some point,’ said Orlandini, who tallied a total of 27 assists. ‘We just need to practice and work hard, but I thought we played well tonight.’

Stork wanted the home crowd to be a factor, and it was on a couple points, but not intimidating enough for a team as good as UCLA.

Northridge will be leave home again and travel to Malibu this weekend to complete its 2008 tournament schedule at the Asics Pepperdine Classic. The Matadors will face Texas State on Friday and play the host, Pepperdine, on Saturday.

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