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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Newest generation of family tradition

It is safe to assume that volleyball has been the sport of choice for Harmony Burdine for a very long time.

Her parents, Pam and Paul Burdine, coach at the high school level and run a club, which she was a part of, and her two sisters, Bonnee and Keao Burdine, have played at the collegiate level. Bonnee played at the University of Hawaii-Pacific from 1991 to 1994 and Keao was an All-American at USC while helping the Trojans to the 2003 National Championship. Keao is now playing on the Association of Volleyball Professionals beach volleyball tour. One of Harmony’s brothers, Kawika, also played briefly at UC Santa Barbara.

“I started playing when I was real young, so I’ve been around volleyball all my life,” Burdine said.

Well, Harmony is now the latest in the Burdine family to make her mark on the collegiate volleyball landscape. As a member of the Cal State Northridge women’s volleyball program, she has been a key contributor to the Matadors from the moment she stepped into the Matadome.

“Harmony is a great all-around player,” head coach Jeff Stork said. “She lacks some of the size you might see on a top 10 team, but she’s an outstanding volleyball player in almost every aspect.”

Harmony first started playing volleyball at the age of 10, which was about the time that her parents started the club team. Harmony then played and started three years as an outside hitter/middle blocker at La Habra high school, where she played for her father.

Harmony was recruited by a number of schools, among them USC, UC Santa Barbara, New Mexico and Nevada-Las Vegas, but chose CSUN primarily because of location and because she meshed well with the Matador coaching staff during the recruiting process.

“(The coaches) were really nice during the whole recruiting experience,” Burdine said. “They made it a lot easier on me and that helped.”

One of the biggest adjustments Burdine had to make once she came to Northridge was living away from home for the first time. According to Burdine, she is living with several of her teammates as well as a close friend from high school. Still, Burdine said the first year away from home took a little getting used to.

“Not having my parents there, I was always with my parents and my family, was kind of different, but it actually turned out really good because we’re all really close,” Burdine said of her teammates.

Another adjustment Burdine had to make came on the court. Burdine was one of eight freshmen who joined the Matadors in 2005, and one of the challenges for Burdine was blending in with her new teammates on the court.

“Just getting used to everyone because we all come from different clubs (was difficult),” Burdine said. “That was basically it, just getting used to each other and the way they play.”

The Matadors struggled in their 2005 season, going 4-23, 2-12 in Big West Conference play. Burdine, though, was one of the bright spots in an otherwise dark season, as she finished second on the team with 267 kills (2.7 kpg) and 916 swings. Burdine posted a career-high 26 kills against host Fresno State on Nov. 5, 2005 and also tied for the team lead in aces (24) and was second in digs (271) to then-Matador Jamie Crawford. Her efforts landed her on the Big West All-Freshman team. Still, the Matadors were not happy with the way the 2005 season went.

“It was pretty tough,” Burdine said of last season. “But I think it was a really good learning experience with us all being freshmen. It made us tougher this year.”

The Matadors continued to improve during the off-season, though Burdine said most of her work was more mental than physical.

“I was always all over the place and never really focused,” Burdine said.

The Matadors’ hard work during the off-season has been more than evident in 2006. CSUN finished 16-12 overall, a much better performance than the previous year.

“During the spring, we worked really hard,” Burdine said. “We were really excited for the season to start.”

Burdine’s kills average has picked up this season, as she is averaging 2.85 kills per game, second on the team to sophomore middle blocker Darla Donaldson, surpassing her previous season total with 282 kills. Burdine also surpassed her total in service aces with 30 and has 330.5 service points. Burdine ranks tenth in the conference and third on the team in service aces. Burdine also ranks second on the team and ninth in the conference with 307 digs (3.10 dpg). Her improvements have not gone unnoticed by Stork.

“She’s a steadier player,” Stork said. “She’s a well-rounded player. All of her skills are polished and she does well in most of them, it’s just being more steady, and that’s what we need from that outside hitting position.”

Burdine has expressed interest in playing professionally once she finishes up at CSUN, but for now, her goal is to help CSUN improve the program. The Matadors finished at .500 in Big West Conference play with a 7-7 record. They lost four of their last five conference games to put them in a tie with UC Irvine. CSUN closed out its regular season with a win at Loyola Marymount University.

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