How’s this for irony. Cal State Bakersfield had never defeated the Matadors at Northridge (0-14). That was until the Roadrunners went into the Matadome Tuesday night and came out victorious in five sets.?
The head coach of the winning team? John Price, former Northridge women’s volleyball head coach. Talk about a homecoming.?
‘We didn’t play great, and Northridge didn’t play great,’ said Price who led his Roadrunners to a win by scores of 24-26, 25-20, 21-25, 25-17, 15-8. ‘But we played hard all night, and I’m really happy we won.’?
Bakersfield (9-7) continued its dominant serving against the Matadors. The Roadrunners entered the match as one of the nation’s top serving teams, ranked seventh nationally in service aces at 2.12 aces per set.?
On Tuesday night, they served at 89 percent with eight aces, four of them came in the second set.?
‘Their serving kept us out of our system,’ Matadors Head Coach Jeff Stork said.? Northridge (5-10, 0-2 Big West Conference) won two of the first three sets, but could not put the Roadrunners away in the fourth. They were then dominated in the fifth.?
Neither team could muster a comfortable lead in the opening set. Bakersfield went on an early four-point streak to take a 6-3 advantage. Northridge played from behind for most of the match, but kept the Roadrunners honest. ?
With the score tied at 20, the alluded service game played a big part in the final outcome. A Northridge service error gave Bakersfield the 21-20 lead, one that increased on the ensuing point with an ace. The Matadors took a 23-22 lead with an ace of their own, but gave a point right back with a service error. ?
Northridge scored three of the final four points with an Angela Hupp kill on set-point, giving the Matadors a 1-0 set lead.
Hupp totaled 16 kills, which led the team. Siara Grayson contributed 13 kills, seven of them coming in the first set. Lynda Morales had nine for the match.?
The teams were tied at 14 in the second set when Bakersfield decided to run away with it. Six straight Roadrunner points gave them a 20-14 lead. Northridge answered by scoring four of the next five, but it was too little too late as Bakersfield tied it up at one set apiece.? The next two sets followed the pattern. The Matadors won the third set and the Roadrunners won the fourth, setting up a deciding fifth set.?
Bakersfield took a quick 3-1 lead, prompting Stork to call a time out. But it would be to no avail, as the Roadrunners refused to relinquish the lead and gave the Matadors their seventh straight loss.?
Northridge committed five errors in the final set and hit a .045 percentage. Bakersfield sided out successfully seven out of eight times.?
Sarah Norman led the Roadrunners with a match-high 21 kills. Teammate Barbie Thistle had 60 assists.?
Samantha Orlandini finished with 46 assists for the Matadors.?
‘We didn’t pass and serve as well as we would have liked,’ said Stork, whose team is averaging a conference-best 1.42 aces per set. ‘Volleyball is a simple game. You have to pass well and serve well.’ ?
‘We didn’t play well enough at the right times. Everyone is disappointed.’?
The Matadors return to Big West action as they travel to UC Irvine (6-8, 1-0) on Friday and UC Riverside (5-11, 0-1) on Saturday. UC Irvine opened its Big West season with a 3-0 win at UC Riverside on Sept. 27, snapping a two-match skid on the way. The Highlanders, on their part, have dropped nine straight matches since defeating James Madison on Sept. 6.?
With the conference season in full swing, Northridge will look to snap the losing streak, maybe start a winning one and climb the Big West standings.