Printer Friendly

CSUN NOTEBOOK: CSUN BIG ON DEFENSE MATADORS THINKING TITLE.

Byline: Jill Painter Staff Writer

They have the hitters to compete with anybody in the Big Sky Conference and the statistics to back it up. But the Cal State Northridge volleyball team would rather talk about its defense.

The Matadors believe defense wins championships. And their defense is the reason they think they have a shot at the Big Sky Conference title. Last season, the Matadors led the nation in digs. They finished second in the Big Sky.

``We are known as a good defensive team,'' said middle blocker Laura Szymanski. ``If you know someone digs the ball, you'll want to kill it up front. It's like, 'She just threw herself on the ground, so I'm going to kill it.' ''

CSUN is fifth in the Big Sky in digs, averaging 18.8 per game. Junior outside hitter Alexis Cormier leads the team in digs with four per game. Cormier also leads the team in kills and is second in the Big Sky with 4.8 per game, while Szymanski adds 4.68.

Szymanski had 23 kills in CSUN's road win over Weber State on Saturday. The Matadors won 15-11, 16-14, 6-15, 15-6 to improve to 5-3 in the Big Sky.

``We've learned a lot of skills in practice,'' Cormier said. ``We don't necessarily just try to pound the ball even though the stats look like it. We try to outsmart teams by tipping and using our tools.''

The Matadors, who started 3-0 in conference, have since gone 2-3. CSUN (10-4) lost to Sacramento State in three games on the road on Thursday. The Matadors are young and inexperienced - they have six freshmen - which has contributed to inconsistent play and slow starts. CSUN lost the first two games in its home match against Montana State on Sept. 28 before rallying to win the next three.

``We need more stable playing in the beginning of games,'' Cormier said. ``We're too inconsistent. We have to be down in order to start playing. If we start from point one then no other team can touch us, in my opinion.''

And it all starts with defense.

``Our team strategy is defense,'' coach Lian Lu said. ``We have good fighting spirit. This is a different philosophy. It's the Asian philosophy - any ball you dig up you're protecting an out. If I can dig up every ball, the team will never lose.''

Blocking was CSUN's area of weakness at the beginning of the season but the Matadors have spent plenty of practice time working on that. Freshman Carissa Gough is fifth in the conference in blocks with 1.46 per game.

Offensively, Heather Zall is sixth in the conference in assists (11.32) while Szymanski adds 0.36 aces per game. If they can put it all together, and do so consistently, the Matadors believe they'll be in the hunt in November.

``We want to win the Big Sky but we have to fight for every point,'' Szymanski said. ``Against (Montana), only two points was the difference between winning and losing. Everybody has to realize that and know where they are on the court.''

--Streak snapped: The Matadors women's soccer team's winning streak ended at three games with a 1-1 double-overtime tie against Weber State - CSUN's fourth tie this season. The Matadors started the season with three ties. CSUN beat UC Irvine, Hawaii and Cal State Fullerton before its tie against Weber State, a team which still hasn't won a game this season.

--Key soccer game: The CSUN men's soccer team has a chance to collect a big win at home Friday. CSUN hosts Cal State Fullerton at 7 p.m. at North Campus Stadium but the game doesn't have the implications it once did. The Titans were ranked as high as fifth in College Soccer News and sixth in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll. Fullerton has since lost four of its last five games, including a 5-1 loss to Clemson.

--Preseason favorite: The CSUN men's basketball team is picked to win the Big Sky Conference by The Sporting News and Street & Smith's College Basketball preseason publications. The Matadors, who were one win away from their first NCAA Tournament berth last year, return four starters, including guard Markus Carr, who averaged nine points and 6.9 assists per game. Practice starts Sunday and the first exhibition game is Nov. 1.

--Recruiting gems: Mike Batesole's 2000 recruiting class is rated 15th in the nation. The class includes: catcher Eric Ballew (College of the Canyons), pitcher Craig Mosher (Florida), designated hitter Robert Smith (Oklahoma State), outfielder Eric Verbryke (USC) and John Voita (Granada Hills High). Voita, a catcher, batted .441 with 28 runs, 32 RBI and 10 home runs his senior year.
COPYRIGHT 2000 Daily News
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2000, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Oct 9, 2000
Words:786
Previous Article:BLUES POUND DUCKS ST. LOUIS 5, DUCKS 1.
Next Article:LAKERS NOTEBOOK: FISHER MAKES BID FOR EARLY RETURN.


Related Articles
BIG SKY SWAN SONG CSUN SEEKS TO LEAVE CONFERENCE ON A HIGH NOTE.
NORTHRIDGE NOTEBOOK NOW'S A GOOD TIME FOR OFFENSE.
CSUN NOTEBOOK: BIG SKY TITLE UP FOR GRABS.
STRUGGLING CSUN FALLS SHORT AGAIN; MATADORS ARE SPEECHLESS AFTER ANOTHER HOME LOSS : E. WASHINGTON 85, CSUN 79.
CSUN NOTEBOOK: `IT'S GETTING LATE' FOR A CSUN RUN.
CSUN RATTLED 'N' ROLLED : PORTLAND ST. 34, CSUN 21.
MATADORS FLOATING ATOP BIG SKY; DEFENSE COMES THROUGH IN NORTHRIDGE VICTORY : CSUN 21, MONTANA 7.
CSUN LETS BIG SKY TITLE SLIP AWAY; IDAHO STATE WINS IT IN CLOSING SECONDS : IDAHO ST. 32, CSUN 29.
CSUN VS. PORT. ST.: A CLOSER LOOK : CSUN PROF GETS INTO THE SPORTS GAME.
CSUN FRETS ABOUT RUN-STOPPING ABILITY.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters