NORTHRIDGE — The worst fears of Nancy Ma and the Cal State Northridge women's volleyball team have materialized.
Ma, a 6-foot-1 junior outside hitter and team leader, is out for the season because of torn ligaments and torn cartilage in her right knee.
A team spokesperson said surgery is needed to repair the damage but Ma has not decided what to do.
"She's the key to us winning," Coach Lian Lu said. "She's awesome. She's so smart and skilled. We lose a big leader."
Ma was hurt when she landed awkwardly on the leg after attempting a spike in the second game of a three-game Big Sky Conference victory over Weber State on Saturday at Northridge.
The injury could stall Northridge's drive for a second consecutive Big Sky title.
Even with Ma, the Matadors (9-4, 3-1) were picked by Big Sky coaches to finish third in the conference behind Eastern Washington and Cal State Sacramento.
Ma leads the team with 194 kills and is third with 156 digs. She's 10th on the Northridge career list with 705 kills.
In August, Ma was selected most valuable player in the DePaul tournament after leading the Matadors to the title and was picked to the all-tournament team at the UNLV tournament early in September.
Ma, from Zheng Zhou, China, last year was an All-Big Sky selection and was most valuable player of the Big Sky tournament, won by the Matadors.