September 3, 2011

Haina's Hot Hitting Leads Matadors to Straight-Set Victory Over Fresno State

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Sophomore Mahina Haina continued her hot hitting Saturday morning as Cal State Northridge won its third straight match, 25-15, 25-20, 25-18 over Fresno State in its second match of the Sacramento State Invitational at the Hornets Nest.

Haina, who is hitting .461 over her last three matches, led the Matadors again on Saturday putting down 12 kills in 24 swings (.375) to go with three digs and one block. Haina had 12 kills while hitting .556 against Marist on Friday.

"Mahi is playing with a lot of confidence right now," said head coach Jeff Stork. "We're getting her the ball in good spots and she's a very proactive attacker right now."

Sophomores Natalie Allen and Britney Graff each added eight kills with Allen hitting .278 and matching her career-high with five aces. Allen also chipped in nine digs and a match-high seven blocks to round out a solid all-around effort. Setter Sydney Gedryn posted 31 assists and eight digs while libero Cindy Ortiz tallied a match-high 14 digs.

The Matadors opened the first set with five straight points, largely on the strength of Allen's serving and despite the Bulldogs closing to within 5-4 following a Casey Hinger hitting error CSUN would not trail in the set. A Gedryn setter dump on a Graff pass and a Fresno State hitting error gave the Matadors their largest lead at 22-11. Then after the Bulldogs pulled within 24-15 after Haina's attack went long, Allen put down a kill giving Northridge the 25-15 set win.

The Matadors trailed by as many as two (12-10) in the second set before a Haina kill and an Allen-Jarvis co-block propelled CSUN on a 9-2 run putting the Matadors in front to stay 19-14. Fresno State managed to get within four twice down the stretch, the last time at 24-20, before Graff's kill put Northridge up by two sets.

After trailing briefly early in the third set, a pair of Allen aces gave the Matadors the lead for good at 11-9. A Bulldog kill evened things at 14-14 before kills from Gedryn and a pair from Haina gave CSUN the margin it needed and despite Fresno State pulling within 17-16, the Matadors pulled away late and closed out the match on a co-block from Allen and Sam Kaul.

"We were confident going into the match," said Stork. "They are learning a new system and we just didn't make as many errors as they made. Certainly we've played two really good matches to open the weekend. When we're getting pressed we're maintaining our composure."

For the Bulldogs, Marissa Brand posted a match-high 15 kills (.211) but the Matadors wound up out-hitting Fresno State .245 to .064.

Cal State Northridge is back in action again at 7:30 p.m. as the Matadors take on the host Hornets who lost to Fresno State (3-1) in their opening match Friday night.

- GO MATADORS -