BYU Holds Off Matadors in Four Sets 25-15, 25-22,16-25, 25-17

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Cal State Northridge extended the visiting BYU Cougars to four sets in a Saturday matinee before falling 25-15, 25-22,16-25, 25-17 at The Matadome.

The Matadors (6-6) were paced in the loss by Mahina Haina's 13 kills (.258) while Casey Hinger added eight kills (.227) and four blocks. Natalie Allen chipped in seven kills but struggled on the offensive end hitting .-030. Allen did add two aces, 11 digs and three blocks in the loss. Libero Cindy Ortiz led a trio of Matadors with double figures in digs with 20.

CSUN, which fell to 0-2 on its home floor, committed 26 hitting errors to go with 17 service errors. BYU hit .194 as a team with 19 hitting errors but had just four service errors.

"The team that made the fewest amount of errors won the sets," said head coach Jeff Stork. "I thought we did a good job of point production in the third set but I think we still need to work on our offense to get to the point where we're scoring at a reasonable rate."

In a quick first set, the Cougars opened up an early 8-4 lead and never looked back. An Allen kill briefly pulled CSUN within three at 11-8 but an ensuing 6-1 run forced the Matadors to use their second timeout trailing 16-9. A kill from Hinger followed by a pair of BYU hitting errors got Northridge as close as they would get (16-12) before the Cougars pulled away late.

The Matadors found themselves playing catch-up in the second set as well falling behind 11-7 after Allen's attack went wide. This time though CSUN battled back to within 19-17 after Allen and Sam Kaul teamed up to block Jennifer Hamson. The Matadors kept within striking distance at 22-18 after a Britney Graff kill but an ensuing Ortiz service error gave BYU the cushion it needed to take a two-set lead 25-22.

The Cougar offense, which hit .367 in set one and .242 in set two, disappeared in the third set as they had just four kills while hitting -.067 as a team. The Matadors took advantage and opened up an early 8-3 lead. After the Cougars cut the lead 9-8, CSUN built the lead back to five (13-8) following the second of two Haina kills. The Matadors, who led by as many as seven (19-12), would go on and claim the set 25-16 despite hitting .048.

In the final set, CSUN trailed by two at 10-8 before Cougar setter Heather Hannemann stepped to the service line and delivered six straight points before a Puneet Pataria kill ended the run at 16-9. But the Matadors could only get within five points the remainder of the set and Nicole Warner's kill on match point gave the Cougars to 3-1 win.

Hamson led BYU (11-3) with a match-high 16 kills while hitting .282 to go with 13 digs. Christie Carpenter added eight kills (.154) and 10 digs while libero Kendalyn Hartsock posted a match-high 25 digs.

Cal State Northridge opens up Big West Conference play one week from tonight (Sept. 24) when the Matadors travel to UC Riverside at 7 p.m.