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Matadors drop final game on senior night

The CSUN Matadors (6-23) dropped their final game of the season to the CSUF Titans (2-25) Nov. 18 at the Premier America Credit Union Arena. The Matadors won the first set but subsequently lost the following three due to poor defense and errors as they hosted their senior night, which was the final collegiate game...

The CSUN Matadors (6-23) dropped their final game of the season to the CSUF Titans (2-25) Nov. 18 at the Premier America Credit Union Arena.

The Matadors won the first set but subsequently lost the following three due to poor defense and errors as they hosted their senior night, which was the final collegiate game for four players. While the Matadors lost the disappointing four-set match, they were only outscored by one point in total.

CSUN’s Director of Women’s Volleyball John Price noted how this was an especially disappointing game and outcome, as the team wanted to send their seniors off with a win.

“I’m always amazed at how the team continues to play hard and still give us opportunities to win,” Price said. “That last game that we lost 26-24 we had 10 attacking errors, which is an insane amount of attacking errors, and to still have a chance at the end is a reflection of how hard they played, but also how poor their decision making is.”

Despite the disheartening loss, the Matadors had impressive individual performances, as they had three players each with more than 10 points. Outside hitter Perri Starkey and middle blocker Taylor Hunter had 17.5 and 14.5 points in their final collegiate game respectively, while setter Carisa Barron also had 10 points. Hunter, Starkey, and Barron also led the team with 14, 13, and nine kills respectively.

The Matadors have struggled to limit errors and effectively handle scoring deficits this season. They have allowed their opponents to maintain long runs during close sets, which has led to losses.

“Definitely those momentum runs are rough, especially because it can get in our heads mentally and once the mental side kind of crashes, that’s when it’s hard to get back out of it,” Starkey said. “It’s not only physically exhausting but mentally, so it’s really a double whammy and can be pretty difficult.”

Decision making naturally improves with experience, and although the team will lose four seniors they are hopeful that this troubling season allowed for advanced growth among the young team and players.

CSUN players that were celebrated on senior night include formerly mentioned Starkey and Hunter, along with outside hitter Taylor Orshoff and libero Kelsey Knudsen.

Although the team underwent a very disappointing season riddled with injuries, as the rotations were ever changing, the team still fought hard in each contest. In retrospect, many of the players mentioned the deep bond they developed over the tumultuous year and while the outcome wasn’t ideal, they were very happy nonetheless of how the season concluded.

“I really like the girls as we’re a very tight community and like family, as all of us live near each other,” Hunter said. “We’re very supportive of each other, which I’m very glad of, and didn’t have any drama this year, so it was nice to have a nice family situation.”

Moving into the early off-season, the Matadors look to improve their chemistry, communication, passing, and experience as they remain hopeful next year will be the end of their postseason drought.