Major Challenge Faces Unbeaten Volleyball Team Tonight at Cal State LAcsudhbulletin September 20, 2019 0 COMMENTS
By Jeremy Gonzalez, Sports Editor
The CSUDH women’s volleyball team, off to its best start in its 38-year history, faces a huge obstacle Saturday in its quest to go 8-0: Cal State Los Angeles, which has beaten the Toros 32 of the last 36 times they have played.
The Toros visit the Golden Eagles for their first conference game of the season, following a pre-season schedule in which they dominated two tournaments. First was the Toro Classic played in the Torodome, where CSUDH easily dispatched Humboldt State, Notre Dame de Namur, and the Academy of Art, not dropping a set in three straight 3-0 games.
Last weekend, the Toros traveled the Bay Area for the Division II West Region Volleyball Showcase, which they again swept, beating Concordia (Oregon), Humboldt State (again), Fresno Pacific, and Dominican University.
During this 7-0 run, senior Taylor Benitez-Fanslow has emerged as a crucial offensive component, leading the team with 79 kills and averaging a team-high 3.65 points per set. On the defensive end, junior Lynda Nguyen has emerged as the team leader in digs with 90, and freshman Samaya Royale has come up big, leading the team with an average of 1.19 blocks per set.
The Toros enter tonight’s game with a better record than CSULA, which sits at 4-4. However, three those losses were to schools ranked in the top 20 in Division II volleyball.
The Golden Eagles have two studs leading the team. One is Karla Santos, currently fourth in the conference with 113 kills and third in points per set with 4.47. The other is Daisy Crenshaw, who is second in the conference with 1.31 blocks per set.
In their meetings last year, Cal State LA won in straight sets against the Toros, 3-0, but though the Golden Eagles have dominated the rivalry, the Toros did post road wins in 2017 and 2016.
Now the real challenge arrives that will test the Toros to see if they’re as good as their record states. The gauntlet that is known as the California Collegiate Athletics Association has finally arrived and will truly see if the Toros are contenders or pretenders.
In the NCAA’s Division II West region, half the top teams are from the CCAA: Cal State San Bernardino (#2), Cal State LA (#3), Cal Poly Pomona (#4), Cal State Monterey Bay (#8), and Cal State East Bay (#9). The CCAA is always a tough volleyball conference, one reason why the Toros have only advanced to the conference playoffs once (under current head coach Jennifer Adeva in 2015), the same number of times they have finished with a conference record above. 500 (2017).
But that’s all history and tonight begins a new story. The intriguing matchup between the Golden Eagles and Toros begins at Cal State LA at 5 p.m.