September 19, 2012

Matadors Drop Big West Opener to No. 7 Hawai'i in Five Sets

Box Score

Matador Season Stats

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - In front of a raucous crowd inside the Matadome, Cal State Northridge fought off two fifth-set match points Wednesday evening against the visiting Hawai'i Rainbow Wahine. Unfortunately for CSUN, Hawai'i was able to secure the win in its third attempt as the host Matadors were defeated in their Big West opener 25-22, 16-25, 25-17, 17-25 and 17-19.

The loss also ended CSUN's three-game win streak.

Led by Casey Hinger's 14 kills, the Matadors fell short of scoring the one point it needed to earn an upset against the seventh-ranked team Rainbow Wahine in their return to the Big West Conference.

In addition to Hinger, Britney Graff and Mahina Haina completed the trio of double-digit CSUN scorers by finishing with 13 and 10 kills respectively.

Trailing the Rainbow Wahine 0-3 in the early moments of the fifth set, Hinger sparked CSUN's comeback as the Matadors were able to erase their early deficit to tie the score at 6-6. 

Both teams traded points as the fifth set progressed until Cieana Stinson earned her ninth, and final kill of the night to give CSUN the first of its two opportunities to close out the match, leading 14-12.

Unable to secure the decisive point it needed, it was CSUN's turn to fight off two Hawai'i match points to extend the match. With Northridge trailing 15-16, a Hawai'i service error earned the ninth tied score of the set; Graff's final kill of the evening helped the Matadors tie the score once again at 17 apiece moments later.

Graff's kill was the final one that the Matadors would record Wednesday evening as Hawai'i scored the last two points of the night to secure the victory.

"It was a great match for us, as far as the intensity and level of play," said Northridge head coach Jeff Stork. "We need to cherish those moments that come with pressure, and make the most of those opportunities."

Jane Croson and Emily Harton led Hawai'i with 18 and 16 kills apiece.

As a team, CSUN hit .132 for the match (55-34-159), Hawai'i finished with a .165 attack percentage (59-33-158).

The Matadors will travel to Cal State Fullerton this Friday to compete in their first Big West road match of the season. Friday's action will begin at 7 p.m. at Titan Gym, live stats and an internet radio broadcast will be available at GoMatadors.com.

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