Don’t let their overall record fool you, the Northridge women’s volleyball team played decently against non-conference opponents this season.
After defeating Cal State Bakersfield in five sets 25-21, 20-25, 25-21, 28-30 and 15-12 at the Icardo Center Thursday, the Matadors completed their non-conference schedule with a record of 6-8.
Northridge (7-20, 1-12 Big West Conference) snapped a four-match skid as well as an eight-game road losing streak. They also avenged a five-set home loss to the Roadrunners Sept. 30.
Despite its problems receiving serve, Northridge played a very efficient offensive match, hitting .308 as a team. The Matadors hit a solid .462 (14-2-26) and limited the Roadrunners to a team-hitting clip of .074 (8-6-27) in taking the first set. Bakersfield improved that figure significantly to .281 as the Roadrunners took set two. The Matadors bounced back after a subpar hitting effort in set two to hit .312 in taking set three.
In a fourth set that featured 18 ties and 12 lead changes, Northridge used a 5-0 run to turn a 17-15 deficit into a 20-17 lead following a Val Kepler kill. The Matadors held the lead until an Angela Hupp attack error gave the Roadrunners the lead back at 23-22. But ensuing kills from Hupp and Grayson gave Northridge match point at 24-23. Consecutive Bakersfield kills put the Roadrunners in position to claim the set at 25-24 before Hupp answered and knotted the set at 25-25. The Matadors had match points at 26-25 and 28-27 but Bakersfield answered each time. A Barbie Thistle-RoseMary Stribling block and a Brittany Williams hitting error forced a fifth set after Bakersfield won set four 30-28.
The Matadors hit .391 with no errors to close out the fifth and deciding set.
After the Roadrunners claimed the first three points of the final set, the Matadors rolled off four straight to take a 4-3 lead on a Williams kill. A Sarah Warner attack error gave Northridge a two-point cushion at 6-4 and the Matadors also led by two at 8-6, 10-8 and 12-10 before matching their largest lead at 13-10 on a Samantha Orlandini kill. After the Runners closed to 14-12 on a Sarah Norman kill, the Matadors claimed the match on Hupp’s 15th kill of the night.
Siara Grayson and Williams led Northridge with 16 kills apiece. Tela Burnett chipped in a match-high six blocks for the Matadors. Grayson also added a career-high seven aces to her team-leading total of 29 and completed her first career double-double by adding a team-high 10 digs.
Senior middle blocker Rosemary Stribling led all attackers with 19 kills for CSUB (13-13 overall). Norman added 15 kills for the Roadrunners.
Unfortunately, league play hasn’t been as kind to Northridge. Two days later, the Matadors resumed their conference season in Fullerton. The struggles continued as the Titans defeated the Matadors in four sets with scores of 25-22, 19-25, 25-22 and 25-17.
The teams played a close match until late in the fourth set where Fullerton pulled away for good. Fullerton (14-14, 7-6) out-hit Northridge .180 to .124.
Hupp collected 16 kills while scooping 18 digs and putting up four block assists. Hupp’s dig totals paced the Matador squad which showcased four players with 12 or more.
Hupp and Orlandini had double-doubles in the loss.
Brittany Moore and Andrea Ragan notched double-doubles for the Titans. Moore with 16 kills and 20 digs and Ragan with 40 assists and 17 digs. It was Moore’s 14th double-double of the season and Ragan’s sixth.
The Matadors have dropped 17 of their last 19 matches. They will be in Stockton Friday to take on Pacific and Davis Saturday to face the Aggies of UC Davis.