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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Northridge goes for No. 100

The CSUN women’s soccer team (5-1-0) is one win away from No. 100 and will cross the state-line into Arizona this weekend to try to get it.

‘It’s very exciting,’ said Head Coach Keith West about the milestone. ‘The girls have just been focused on doing what they do best. I’ve just been steering the ship. They’ve done all the work.’

Their first try at the century-mark will be on Friday, day in which they head to Tempe to take on Arizona State. The Sun Devils (3-2-2) are currently on a three-game unbeaten streak, picking up two wins and a draw in that span.

Arizona State is led on offense by forward Karin Volpe, who leads the team in goals and assists with four and two respectively. In 2007, as a freshman, Volpe finished the season with the team-lead in goals (5) and points (12). Helping her with the scoring in 2008 has been freshman Sierra Cook. Cook has put in two goals and also has one assist.

Arizona State’s defense is what has been impressive as of late and it starts with goalkeeper Briana Silvestri. Since she took over in net four games ago, the Sun Devils are 2-1-1 and have allowed just one goal, good enough for Silvestri, a junior, to be credited with three shutouts. She also has 12 saves while posting an average of .24 goals against per game, a feat that places her seventh in the nation in the category. She is the current Pac-10 Player of the Week.

Staring down at Silvestri will be the balanced Matador attack. Northridge has scored 13 goals through six games this season – a difference from 2007 in which they had only scored four goals in the same amount of games. Sophomore Farryn Townley leads the team with three goals, all three of them coming as game-winners in the past three Northridge victories. Seniors Tryna Tafoya and Kristal Phillips each have two goals while freshmen Nancy Avesyan and Brielle Slepicoff lead the squad, and the Big West Conference, in assists with three each. Avesyan also scored her first career-goal in Sunday’s win over Saint Mary’s.

‘This team has a will to win,’ said West. ‘We just need to keep improving every day and limit our mistakes. We’ve been doing a good job of it.’

Friday’s game will begin at 7 p.m and is the second meeting in the history of the teams. They last met 12 years ago, a 3-0 Sun Devil shut-out over the Matadors.

After that game, the Matadors will travel south to Tucson to take on the University of Arizona. The Wildcats (4-2-0) are fresh off of a 2-1 victory over Texas Tech last Friday.

A freshman leads the way for Arizona offensively this season. Renae Cuellar has four goals and one assist, good for a team lead of nine total points. In high school, she received many honors. She won Rookie of the Year and was also a three-time Offensive Player of the Year choice. Complementing her is sophomore Karina Camacho, who leads the club with three assists and has also added two goals of her own. The Wildcats average two goals per game and have exploded for four goals in a single game twice in 2008.

Trying to slow down the attack will be the Northridge defense, who has made a huge turnaround from 2007. They have only allowed five goals through six games, compared to 16 in the same span last season. A huge part of that reversal is due to goalkeeper Leah Elliot. Elliot is coming off an impressive weekend in which she made 15 saves while only allowing two goals.

‘I just played really hard,’ said Elliot. ‘I just stick to my game plan and react quickly when the ball comes near me.’

Aiding her on defense will be sophomore Jasmine Pratt, who quietly had an exceptional weekend during the Saint Mary’s Fall Classic and was rewarded for her efforts with a spot on the All-Tournament team.

Senior Captain Nalena Betancourt and sophomore Katie Fox have yet to miss a minute of action this season on the back line. Fox made the game-saving play in the final minutes of Sunday’s win.

‘I was just in the right place at the right time,’ said Fox, whose clutch rejection of a potential game-tying shot allowed the Matadors to preserve the victory. ‘It was such a big win for us so it was exciting.’

Sunday’s contest is the first-ever meeting between the teams and will start at 1 p.m.

Emin Avakian Staff Reporter

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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