Cal State Northridge's 'comeback kids', (a.k.a. the women's volleyball team) ran out of magic in the championship quarterfinals of the National Invitational Volleyball Tournament Friday night at Pauley Pavilion.
The Lady Matadors lost to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, 15-7, 15-7, 15-5 after they defeated the University of Calgary and Fresno State earlier in the day.
Northridge, 7-7, fell behind early in each of its games against Calgary and Fresno State. CSUN was down 11-3 in the first game against Calgary, only to rally for a 15-11, 16-14 win. Fresno State then fell, 15-13, 15-11, giving the Lady Matadors their first win over an NCAA Division I team in six tries.
"Defensively, we did a super job," said CSUN Coach Walt Ker. "We did a nice job from a system standpoint. The girls played proper positions, set blocks in the right spots, and made it difficult for the opponent to get a shot down on us."
Leading the blocking up front were Franci Bowman and Cami Crouch. Ker singled out the play of outside hitter Heather Hafner, middle hitter Karen Lontka on offense.
The Lady Matadors didn't execute as well in their quarterfinal match, but Ker attributed that to the play of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, which is ranked No. 9 in the NCAA Division I.
"We're disappointed because we played so well the first two games, but give credit to Cal Poly," Ker said. "They beat us pretty good. "They were a cut above the other two teams. We made some nice plays against them, but they'd come right back at us.
"We're in this tournament to get high level experience, and that's just what they gave us."
Today, CSUN will meet the University of Hawaii in an 11 a.m. game. Hawaii lost to the University of Pacific in another quarterfinal game Friday night. Ker said there will be no drop off in the competition.
"Our won-loss record is not as good as it could be because of the type of competition we've played against," he said. "We gonna have another tough one tomorrow. There are no easy teams in this tournament.
"I can be farsighted enough to see how this experience is going to help us in the future. I just hope my players can too."