Matadors Cap Regular Season With Straight-Set Win Over Cal State Fullerton
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Cal State Northridge celebrated senior night with a straight-set win (25-19, 25-22, 25-22) over visiting Cal State Fullerton as the Matadors capped the regular season by posting their 21st win.
CSUN finishes the regular season at 21-10 overall and 12-6 in the Big West. By virtue of Long Beach State's 3-0 win at Cal Poly, the Matadors will finish third in the conference standings for the second straight season.
Building on a successful 16-13 (9-7) season in 2011, CSUN put an exclamation point on 2012 by sweeping a Titan squad that had not been shutout since early September. With 21 wins, the Matadors win their most matches overall since joining the Big West in 2001 and the most by a CSUN squad since 1996. With 12 conference wins, the Matadors match the 2003 team for the most Big West wins in the Jeff Stork era.
"With the way that we've been playing at the end of the season, the match went kind of as I expected," said Stork. "Fullerton is a very good team with some potent weapons offensively, fortunately we were able to scout them very well and limit them below their season average which we're very happy about."
On a night the Matadors paid tribute to seniors Monica McFarland and Cindy Ortiz, Casey Hinger and Mahina Haina provided the offense and CSUN put up another solid blocking effort. Hinger had a team-high 11 kills (.233) while also adding a match-high eight blocks (two solo), three digs and one ace. Haina added 10 kills (.269), five digs and a pair of blocks.
Four Matadors recorded at least four blocks as the Matadors out-blocked the Titans 13.5-10.0 and hit .226 as a team. Setter Sydney Gedryn dished out 38 assists to go with five kills and four blocks. McFarland and Ortiz had 30 digs combined as Ortiz's match-high 18 adds to her Matador career record of 1,456 digs.
After dominating the opening set, the Matadors had to battle back to win set two and then hold off a late Titan charge to capture the final frame.
A Bre Moreland kill gave Cal State Fullerton a 22-19 lead late in the second set before consecutive kills from Hinger pulled the Matadors within one. After a Titan timeout, kills from Haina, Gedryn, another from Hinger and a Hinger-Gedryn block capped a set-clinching 6-0 Matador run.
With the score tied 19-19 in the final stages of set three, a Sam Kaul-Cieana Stinson block followed by a Britney Graff kill and a pair of Titan hitting errors gave CSUN a 23-19 cushion. Three straight Fullerton points made things interesting before a Moreland service error and a Graff kill gave the Matadors their 21st win of the season.
"21 wins is the starting point of what we need to do in the future," said Stork when asked what this season's win total meant to the program. "20 wins is a milestone and we certainly left some matches out there and won a couple of matches that we shouldn't have. We played extremely well all season and the quality of our play got better and better as the season went on."
Kayla Neto wound up with a match-high 13 kills to lead Cal State Fullerton but hit just .089 for the match. The Titans conclude their season at 15-16 overall and 9-9 in the Big West.
- GO MATADORS -