IRVINE, Calif. – Casey Hinger and Mahina Haina led Cal State Northridge with seven kills apiece, followed by Britney Graff and Cieana Stinson who each recorded six in Friday evening's Big West road match at UC Irvine. Unfortunately for the Matadors, the Anteaters were able to secure a win on their home floor, defeating CSUN 25-17, 25-23, 25-17.
The decision drops the Matadors' records to 15-8 overall and 6-5 in conference action, UC Irvine is now 10-14 overall with a Big West record of 5-5.
After the Anteaters took the first set, one that saw three tied scores and the lead change hands on two occasions, the Matadors had their sights set on earning a split before heading into the locker room at the break. Trailing by as many as four in the latter portion of the frame, CSUN cut Irvine's advantage in half after forcing the Anteaters to commit one of their nine second-set attack errors, followed by a kill from Stinson to trim its deficit to 19-21.
Both teams would trade points against one another as the set progressed; facing a second consecutive UC Irvine set point opportunity, a kill from Haina helped extend the match and pull the Matadors within one at 23-24. UC Irvine would capitalize on its third set point the very next serve when Irvine's Shannon Fleming recorded one of her eight kills to give her team a 2-0 set lead.
Undeterred, the Matadors returned to the floor at Crawford Court and recorded their highest attack percentage of the evening. Finishing the third frame with a .310 clip, CSUN posted 13 kills out of its 29 swings, and committed only four errors. However, UC Irvine committed zero attack errors and was able to hit at a higher percentage to capture the third set, and the match.
Combined, Sam Kaul and Sydney Gedryn were responsible for 75 percent of CSUN's eight blocks, ending the evening with three blocks apiece. Hinger and Stinson were responsible for the other Matador blocks.
Led by Cindy Ortiz with 15, the Matadors recorded 49 digs throughout Friday's match, and finished with six more than UC Irvine. Rounding out CSUN's top-three were Graff and Gedryn, as the duo finished with eight and five respectively.
Ortiz was also responsible for CSUN's only service ace.
Friday's contest was only the fourth occasion this season that CSUN finished with fewer blocks that its opponent; the Matadors have won the net battle in all 15 of their victories, and were defeated in all four matches when outblocked.
Cal State Northridge will return to action in a 7 p.m. Big West match on Saturday, Oct. 27, at Long Beach State. Live stats, video stream and internet radio broadcast featuring Mark Schuermann will be available at GoMatadors.com.