Matadors Battle But Fall to Ninth-Ranked USC in Straight Sets

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Cal State Northridge opened the 2011 home season Tuesday but fell to ninth-ranked USC in straight sets (25-16, 25-20, 25-21). Sophomore Mahina Haina paced Northridge with eight kills.

The Matadors (4-3) had their season-high four-match win streak snapped as the Trojans had 43 kills to 27 for CSUN and out-hit the Matadors .200-.071.

Haina paced Northridge with eight kills but was limited to an .000 hitting clip in 32 swings. Fellow sophomore Natalie Allen added seven kills (.120), a team-high 12 digs and three blocks. No other Matador hitter registered more than three kills.

Setter Sydney Gedryn posted 20 assists, six digs and continued to block well with a match-high seven total blocks. The Matadors out-blocked USC 11.5-7.0.

"We blocked real well tonight," said head coach Jeff Stork. "I think that might be USC's lowest hitting percentage of the year. We've always been good at serve-block defense but our serving wasn't what I thought it should have been tonight. Our team defense is outstanding but you have to back that up with a good offense."

The Trojans (5-2) opened up a 14-4 lead in the opening set and were never seriously threatened from that point on. A co-block from Gedryn and Nicole Jarvis temporily pulled the Matadors within seven at 18-11 but USC again pulled away late to claim the set 25-21.

The second and third sets were tighter as Northridge up its hitting percentage from -.062 in the opening set. USC led by a slim 15-13 margin midway through set two. But a pair of Matador hitting errors propelled the Trojans on an 8-3 run which put USC comfortably in front 23-16. Despite the loss, CSUN wound up hitting a team-high .179 in set two. In the final frame, the Matadors went on top 18-17 following a co-block from Sam Kaul and Gedryn before Jupiter took advantage of a CSUN overpass to knot the score at 18-18. From that point on it was all USC as the Trojans outscored the Matadors 7-3 down the stretch to seal the set 25-21 and the match 3-0.

Jupiter had a match-high 13 kills to lead the Trojans but hit just .121 on 33 attacks. The Trojan middles (Lauren Williams and Hannah Schraer) combined to pound 13 kills while hitting .478.

Cal State Northridge heads back out on the road this weekend as the Matadors compete at the UNLV Classic in Las Vegas, Nev. CSUN opens Friday against Eastern Washington before taking on Southern Utah and UNLV on Saturday.