FRESNO, Calif. - Natalie Allen and Cieana Stinson each had a team-high 11 kills as Cal State Northridge swept Santa Clara 25-22, 25-23, 26-24 in the season-opener for both teams at the Bulldog Invitational at Save Mart Center.
The Matadors (1-0) hit a solid .343 as a team as Allen and Stinson tallied team-highs. In her first match since last Sept. 8, Allen added six digs and two blocks while hitting .111 in 27 swings. Stinson hit a blistering .500 in 18 attacks while junior Casey Hinger chipped in nine kills (.381) and matched two other Matadors with five block assists. Hinger also had one of three CSUN aces.
Matador setter Sydney Gedryn had a nice all-around match with 36 assists, six kills, six digs and a co-match-high five blocks. Gedryn, Hinger and Sam Kaul combined for 15 of CSUN's 20 block assists as the Matadors outblocked the Broncos 10.0 to 8.0. Junior transfer Brooke Dawson, making her CSUN debut, had a match-high eight digs to go with three assists and one ace.
"The first set was a battle but we scored when we needed to", said CSUN head coach Jeff Stork. "Our hitting percentage was high tonight but we didn't pass all that well. There are lots of things we can do better but we were really steady down the stretch, we're very happy with the win tonight."
The Matadors did not hit less than .268 in any of the three sets ultimately hitting a match-high .472 in pulling out the third set 26-24.
CSUN led by as many as six points (13-7) in the opening frame before Santa Clara cut the lead to one at 16-15. The Broncos eventually went up 21-20 before the two teams battled to a 22-22 tie. The Matadors tallied the final three of the final four points of the set to take the frame 25-23.
Northridge trailed 16-10 in the second set and still trailed by six (19-13) before the Matadors mounted a furious comeback. Behind some tough serving from Britney Graff and some timely kills from Hinger the Matadors went on a 10-3 run to take a 23-22 lead and a Mahina Haina kill ended the set 25-22.
The third and final set saw the teams trade the lead six times while the score was knotted a match-high 13 times. With CSUN clinging to a 23-22 lead, Hinger's attack went wide followed by a Bronco ace gave Santa Clara set point at 24-23. A Gedryn kill out of a Matador timeout evened the score at 24-24 and a CSUN block gave the Matadors match point at 25-24. Following a Bronco timeout, Kaul and Allen teamed up to stuff a Santa Clara attack and CSUN had the three-set sweep with the 26-24 win.
Megan Anders was the lone Santa Clara (0-1) hitter to reach double figures with a match-high 12 kills while hitting .632 in 19 errorless swings. The Broncos wound up hitting .264 as a team in the loss.
Cal State Northridge has a quick turnaround as the Matadors will meet Rice (0-1) in the 10 a.m. match at Save Mart Center. Following two afternoon matches, CSUN will take on the host Fresno State Bulldogs (1-0) at 7:30 p.m.
NOTES: The Matadors improved to 5-6 all-time against Santa Clara and have now won two straight over the Broncos ... Friday's win snapped a string of five straight season-opening losses for CSUN. The Matadors last won their season-opener in 2007, a five-set win over Fresno State at the Husky Classic in Seattle ... Head coach Jeff Stork is closing in on his 150th CSUN win. Friday's win was Stork's 145th victory on the Matador bench.
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