The Lady Matadors of Cal State Northridge reaffirmed a couple of longstanding truths Friday night--the state of Minnesota produces good hockey players, and California produces good volleyball players.
The CSUN women routed St. Cloud State in the first match of the NCAA Division II Southwest Women's Volleyball Regional Championships, 15-10, 15-5, 15-4, repeatedly striking volleyballs at the Huskies' heads and fear in their hearts.
"You could see it in their faces from underneath the net," said Shelli Mosby, CSUN's 5-4 setter. "They were scared."
The Lady Matadors, ranked No. 1 in the nation in Division II, advanced to the second round of the single-elimination playoffs against Cal Poly Pomona at Northridge tonight at 7:30.
CSUN Coach Walt Ker said St. Cloud had earned a reputation as a strong blocking team. But CSUN overpowered the Huskies' defense behind the performances of Mosby and outside hitter Heather Hafner, both two-time All-Americans, before a crowd of 400 at Northridge.
"When it's money time," Mosby said, "you can count on Heather."
Hafner made 15 of CSUN's 49 kills and had a .609 hitting percentage, while Mosby served four aces.
The Huskies, making their first NCAA playoff appearance, arrived in Los Angeles on Wednesday, leaving behind 25 inches of snow and temperatures that hovered around zero. But that was cozy compared to the chilling quickness with which the Lady Matadors sent the Huskies home.
"If you lose, it's the end," Hafner said. "So you can't take any team lightly."
Both teams played with that in mind in the first game. St. Cloud outside hitter Becky Stream made four kills to keep the Huskies close, but St. Cloud faltered by serving four other balls into the net.
In the next game, Mosby controlled the offense and began lobbing perfect set-ups to Karen Lontka. The middle blocker took advantage of the good passing and several St. Cloud defensive lapses to score six quick points against the Huskies.
In the same game, Mosby also set up easy shots for middle blocker Cami Crouch and outside hitter Franci Bowman, who had eight and seven kills respectively.
"Shelly runs a pretty fast offense," Ker said. "They're not used to it. That's why the ball kept getting pounded to the floor like that."
Mosby said CSUN plans more of the same pounding for tonight.
"I don't care who we play," Mosby said, "we're going to beat them. The animosity is already there for Pomona. It's almost hate. You get that killer feeling. Don't stand in the way of our goal." Pomona lost the first two games in the second match of the night, but rallied for a 13-15, 11-15, 15-10, 15-10, 15-9 victory over UC Riverside. The Broncos were led by Clara Piersma, who had 16 kills.