The CSUN women’s volleyball team is once again on a winning streak after sweeping Pacific (30-20, 31-29, 30-24) in a conference match on Oct. 26 and Fresno State (30-25, 30-18, 30-16) in a non-conference match on Oct. 28.
The Matadors have an overall record of 14-7 and are in third place in the Big West with a conference record of 6-3. Pacific’s record is now 6-15 overall and 3-7 in conference matches, while Fresno State’s record is now 4-18 overall.
In their match against the Pacific Tigers, the Matadors were simply too good, hitting a season-high .419. Four Matadors posted kills in the double digits, with outside hitter Harmony Burdine leading the attack with 16 kills and a career-high .424 hitting percentage. Burdine also had seven digs and matched her career-high for service aces with four. Setter Angela Hupp had 12 kills and middle blockers Val Kepler and Darla Donaldson had 11 each. Kepler hit an incredible .846 in the match, setting a new career-high. Setter Kayla Wright had a team-high 33 assists, along with three service aces and eight digs.
For Pacific, outside hitter Alexa Anderson led her team with 13 kills and a .414 hitting percentage.
CSUN dominated play in the first game, swinging 33 times with only one error and hitting .515. Two service aces by Wright helped get the Matadors off to a strong start and a 4-0 lead. The Tigers scored a point on an error, but kills by Burdine, Hupp and Kepler kept the Matadors ahead by at least three points throughout the match. After a kill by outside hitter Jenn Probert put CSUN up 22-15, the Tigers called a timeout. A few kills by Anderson and one by Tomaszewska got the Tigers to 24-18. However, a kill by Hilary Brinkman put the Matadors back on an offensive run that ended with an error at 28-19. A kill by Hupp and a service error by Donaldson brought the score to 29-20. Burdine knocked down a kill to win the game at 30-20.
In the second game, the score was tied eight times with four lead changes before the Matadors won by a score of 31-29. Both teams committed errors and traded points until the Tigers went up 19-22 after a couple of kills by Pacific’s Anderson combined with a couple of errors by the Matadors. Donaldson led an offensive attack, knocking down three kills to help tie the score at 24. CSUN led the game until Tomaszewska and Hilbers led the Tigers on a run to a 29-29 tie. A final kill by Kepler and an error by the Tigers resulted in the win for CSUN.
The third game was close at the beginning, with both teams trading points until the score was tied at 9-9. Burdine served a couple of aces, pushing the Matadors ahead by a score of 11-9. Several errors by the Tigers, along with strong hitting by the Matadors, put CSUN up 26-18. Several errors by the Matadors helped the Tigers to come back within three at 26-23. A kill by Donaldson, two by Burdine and a final kill by Kepler, got CSUN the win with a final score of 30-24.
“A lot of things went well for us tonight,” head coach Jeff Stork said. “This is the first time this year that we have been in the 400s in offensive attacking.” Stork also pointed to Kepler’s lack of errors in the match and Burdine’s 21 points as contributing to the win.
CSUN continued their winning play against Fresno State, hitting .294 while the Bulldogs hit .053. Burdine had a team-high 10 kills and for the second time in two days set a new career-high hitting percentage at .474. Hupp had nine kills and hit at .353, while Donaldson and Kepler each had eight kills. Burdine, Donaldson and Hultner each had two service aces. Hanson had a team-high 14 digs and Wright followed with eight. Wright also had a team-high 18 assists, followed by Hupp with 16.
For the Bulldogs, outside hitters Angela Wiggins and Lacey Gera had seven kills each and hit .077 and .136, respectively. Outside hitter Alisha McKee followed with six kills. Setter Tiffany Hess had a team-high 15 assists and Gera added 10. Libero Cassie Gilford had 10 digs, followed by Gera with eight.
A couple of Matador errors started the Bulldogs off to a 0-3 lead in the first game. Outside hitters Alison Pitton and Gera helped Fresno State continue to lead the game until a kill by Probert tied the score at 18. A service ace by Burdine and kills by Kepler put the Matadors up 22-20. The Bulldogs came back and tied the score at 23-23 after a service ace by Pitton. A kill by Probert on the next play put the Matadors up 24-23 and CSUN led the game until the end, winning by a score of 30-25.
CSUN took the lead early in the second game and dominated throughout the game. Kills by Donaldson and Hupp, along with several errors by the Bulldogs, combined to give the Matadors an 8-2 lead. A service ace by Gilford and a kill by Pittonput the Bulldogs within four at 11-7, but that was the closest they would get. CSUN ran away with the lead, winning the game 30-18.
In the third game, a kill by Temperino put the Bulldogs up 1-2. Service aces by Hultner and Donaldson, along with a couple of kills by Kepler, put the Matadors up at 10-5. CSUN continued to dominate and expanded their lead to 21-13 after a service ace by Donaldson. The Matadors continued to attack, with Kepler knocking down a couple of kills to put the score at 26-16. After a flurry of attack errors by the Bulldogs, Burdine closed out the match at 30-16 with a service ace.
Burdine was happy with the win and said that even though it was a non-conference match, winning was still important due to the selection process for the playoffs. “It was a team we needed to beat if we want to make it where we want to be, the playoffs,” Burdine said.
Coach Stork was also happy with the win. “We kept them to a low hitting percentage – two negative hitting percentages – which is a testament to our serve-block defense,” Stork said. “Our offense was pretty good in games one and two, – (though) we slowed down a little bit in game three. We’re scoring enough to offset any offensive lapse that we may have.”
“We are relying a lot on our serve-block defense to put the pressure on the opponent to score as many as we do and obviously tonight they weren’t able to do that.”
The Matadors hit the road this week for a match with UC Irvine on Nov. 2.