RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Cal State Northridge (11-4, 2-1 BWC) ended its first week of Big West action in successful fashion as the Matadors turned a 2-1 deficit into a 26-24, 20-25, 27-29, 26-24, 15-10 victory over UC Riverside Saturday evening.
CSUN's road victory was the second in as many days for a squad that had less than 24 hours to prepare for the Highlanders. CSUN earned its first Big West win in a four-set contest at Cal State Fullerton the previous night.
Northridge has now won five of its last six matches, a stretch of success that began on Sept. 14 at the Rice Invitational II.
Even though the Highlanders posted a higher overall attack percentage than the Matadors, UCR (5-10, 0-2 BWC) hit .201 (73-34-194) compared to CSUN's .156 (58-30-180), Northridge successfully forced Riverside to commit seven receiving, and two blocking errors throughout the match. Responsible for three aces apiece were Britney Graff and Cindy Ortiz, with Alia Casino earning her team's other ace.
Saturday's contest was only the fourth time this season that the Matadors posted a lower hitting percentage compared to their opponents, and the first where CSUN ended the evening with a victory.
The win also improves CSUN's record to 3-1 in five-set matches this season, the Matadors also earned wins after going the distance at Arizona (Aug. 24) and against LIU at the USF Asics Powerade Challenge (Sept. 8).
One of three Matadors who recorded double-digit kills against the Highlanders, nearly half (6) of Mahina Haina's 13 kills were earned throughout the final two sets. In addition to Haina, Cieana Stinson chipped in 10 kills; of Casey Hinger's team-high 17 kills, her final one of the night officially completed CSUN's comeback.
By winning sets one and three, the Highlanders were able to take a 2-1 lead over CSUN. However, the Matadors were able to maintain their composure, force a deciding set after breaking a 24-24 tie in the fourth by scoring consecutive points, and recorded eight kills out of 17 swings (committing only one attack error) in the deciding frame to secure the win.
Conversely, UC Riverside finished the fifth set with a .045 (7-6-22) attack percentage compared to CSUN's .412.
As was the case the previous night in Fullerton, CSUN's front-line was more dominant than its opponent, outblocking the Highlanders by an 18-11 margin. Sydney Gedryn led all Matadors with nine block assists.
Northridge will return to the Matadome on Thursday, Sept. 27, to face Long Beach State (7-6, 2-0 BWC) in the first of a two-match homestand.