FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Cal State Northridge extended its season-opening win streak to five matches after the Matadors topped San Diego State 25-27, 25-16, 25-20, 23-25, 15-9 Saturday afternoon at the Fiesta Bowl Tournament played at Rolle Activity Center.
In improving to 5-0 for the first time since 2001, the Matadors went the distance for the fourth consecutive match, taking down the Aztecs with a 15-9 win in the fifth set.
CSUN head coach Jeff Stork knew he had an experienced team coming into the 2013 season and his squad has not disappointed down the stretch over the last four matches. The Matadors did not commit a single hitting error in the fifth set Saturday while hitting .500 in 22 swings. In their four five-set wins this season, CSUN hitting an impressive .468 as a team in the decisive fifth frame.
"There's experience to it but this is also the second year of being in this offense and using these blocking schemes," said Stork. "This group has been together for three years now which is certainly a factor but we're making better adjustments too."
Against San Diego State, senior Mahina Haina and junior Casey Hinger each led the way with a match-high 14 kills as Hinger hit .440 in 25 swings to go with six blocks, five digs and two aces. Haina hit .297 on a team-high 37 attacks.
Junior Natalie Allen and sophomore Cieana Stinson also reached double figures with 13 kills apiece as Allen hit .273 in 33 attacks and added a match-high 17 digs for her fourth consecutive double-double. Stinson hit .379 and also added three blocks including one solo stuff. Matador setter Sydney Gedryn narrowly missed her first double-double this season compiling 53 assists and eight digs. Gedryn and teammate Britney Graff each had a match-high three aces in the win.
After dropping the first set 27-25, the Matadors, despite hitting a match-low .125, won set two going away 25-16 largely on the strength of six service aces. In set three, a Stinson kill gave the Matadors an insurmountable 18-10 cushion and CSUN held off a late Aztec run to win 25-20. In the fourth set, the two teams battled to a 22-22 tie when San Diego State got back-to-back kills to set up set point at 24-22. Haina saved one set point with a kill but the Aztecs converted their next opportunity and forced a fifth set.
An Allen kill off a Gedryn set capped a 5-2 Matador run to open the deciding set and the Matadors never looked back. The Aztecs pulled within 5-4 but CSUN answered with another 3-0 run to take control at 8-4. The Matador lead swelled to as many as five at 13-8 when, after a Sam Kaul service error, Allen put away a kill and followed with an ace sending the Matadors to the 15-9 victory.
Summer Nash led San Diego State with 14 kills (.140) while Raegen Shelton added 13 (.118) and Emily Harris chipped in 11 kills while hitting .524.
Cal State Northridge wraps up the Fiesta Bowl tournament later tonight as the Matadors go for their second consecutive tournament title against the host Northern Arizona Lumberjacks at 7 p.m.
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