Matadors Begin Homestand with 25-22, 25-17, 25-22 Sweep Over Cal Poly
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Led by Mahina Haina with 11, three Matadors ended Thursday's match with 10 or more kills as Cal State Northridge quickly erased an early 10-point deficit in the third set to sweep the Cal Poly Mustangs 25-22, 25-17, 25-22.
The win helped Northridge open its three-match homestand on a positive note, and record its second season sweep over a Big West opponent in as many weeks. Last Saturday, CSUN earned a victory at Long Beach State to earn its first-ever sweep over the 49ers.
Northridge also surpassed its win total from last season with Thursday's triumph; the 2011 squad finished the year with a 16-13 overall record, with nine of those wins earned against its conference counterparts.
Six matches still remain on the CSUN's schedule, with this year's team entering Saturday's match against UC Santa Barbara with 17 overall, and eight Big West wins.
Northridge (17-8, 8-5 BWC) finished with a .279 hitting percentage (43-12-111) against a Cal Poly team that committed 18 attack errors, against 38 kills, in its 111 attempts (.180).
"We implemented a plan offensively that worked well against their blockers, and we were able to sideout successfully throughout the first and second sets," said Cal State Northridge head coach Jeff Stork.
In a competitive first set that saw 18 ties and eight lead changes, Hinger broke an 18-18 draw by recording her third kill of the set to give Northridge the lead for good. The Matadors closed that first frame by forcing three Mustang (3-20, 2-9 BWC) attack errors, with Sam Kaul and Haina responsible for earning the remaining points needed to secure the set.
The lead only changed hands on two occasions throughout the second set; after Northridge recorded the first point of the set, Cal Poly scored the next two points to take its only lead of the frame. After both teams traded points, Cieana Stinson earned the second of her four kills on the night to give CSUN a 4-3 advantage.
That initial one-point lead would swell to as large as 11, with the Matadors eventually entering the locker room at the break with a 2-0 set lead.
When the teams returned to the floor, Cal Poly found its rhythm on offense and scored 12 of the first 14 points of the third set, forcing Northridge to use both of its timeouts.
What started as a 12-2 run by Cal Poly in the initial moments of the frame quickly turned into a 20-10 CSUN run as the Matadors were able to tie the score for the first time in the third set at 22 apiece midway through Hinger's serve.
The sophomore middle blocker originally took the ball with her team trailing 19-22, and saw Haina break that 22-22 draw, on her serve, by recording three straight kills to help her team earn its second straight home victory over Cal Poly.
"Our finish was outstanding, this was a good match for us with the exception of the say we started set three," said Stork.
"Once we starting serving tough, we knew we could erase their (Cal Poly's) lead," added Sydney Gedryn. "We are a really good serve and defense team, once we started scoring points we just wanted to keep doing what was working for us.
"We just started gaining confidence throughout that third set once we focused on doing our jobs, and began playing better as a team. I am really proud of this team for the way we fought until the end."
Three of CSUN's seven service aces were earned throughout that third set scoring spree, matching a three-set season-high total that was initially recorded against La Salle (Sept. 7) at the Asics Powerade Challenge.
Hinger set a new season high with three aces, Gedryn and Cindy Ortiz each recorded two, with the former tying her season high for the fourth time this season.
Ortiz was also one of three players who led the Matadors with a team-high nine digs. Also finishing with matching totals were Alia Casino and Graff.
In addition to finishing with 30 of her team's 40 assists, Gedryn led all Matadors with five blocks to help her team also win the battle at the net. Of her five, two were solo stuffs - the only individual blocks that Northridge earned throughout the match.
Holly Franks led the way for Cal Poly with 10 kills (.267), Maddie Kuber and Nicole Kessler led all Mustangs with 14 assists and 11 digs.
Cal State Northridge will look to preserve its current second-place standing, and continue its homestand in a 7 p.m. match on Saturday, Nov. 3, against the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (13-12, 6-4 BWC).