Matadors Battle But Come Up Short at Third-Ranked Washington

SEATTLE, Wash. - Cal State Northridge played third-ranked Washington even through two sets, but the Huskies won the final two sets to seal a 25-13, 21-25, 25-14, 25-21 victory Friday night at American Airlines Arena.

The win keeps Washington unbeaten through eight matches while the Matadors (10-3) had their current win streak snapped at four. All three CSUN losses have come to teams ranked in the AVCA Top-25 (Creighton, UCLA, Washington).

Senior Mahina Haina had a solid night on the outside connecting for a season-high 17 kills on 36 attacks to hit .333. Sophomore Cieana Stinson added 13 kills (.200) but CSUN's other main threats, Casey Hinger and Natalie Allen combined for 12 kills in 45 swings to hit a combined .089.

The Matadors did get another double-double from senior setter Sydney Gedryn who posted a stat line of 38 assists, 10 digs, three kills and two blocks. Libero Kelcie Randazzo had a match-high 18 digs as CSUN out-dug Washington by the slim margin of 57-56.

The Matadors, however were out-hit by the Huskies .341 (59-13-135) to .191 (49-22-141). CSUN dropped set one despite hitting .308, but the Matadors bounced back to hit .270 in winning set two 25-21. CSUN then struggled over the final two sets hitting .054 and .171 respectively.

The Matadors trailed early in the opening set 10-5 before getting within four (11-7) following a Sam Kaul kill. But three straight Washington points pushed the lead to 14-7 and the Matadors didn't threaten thereafter.

After the Huskies scored the first three points of set two, CSUN rolled off four straight points to take its first lead. Despite Washington tying the score three times over the next seven points, the Matadors would trail just once more in the set at 16-15 when Haina's attack went wide. With the score tied 17-17, CSUN got a Haina kill, a Brooke Dawson ace, a Stinson kill and a Husky miscue to open up its largest lead at 21-17. But Washington battled back to cut the lead to one at 21-20 and 22-21 before kills from Stinson and Hinger preceded a Husky hitting error on set point.

Set three got away from the Matadors at 12-12 when 10 consecutive Washington points erased all doubt and put the Huskies in front two sets to one. In set four, Haina's kill kept the Matadors close at 18-17 when back-to-back Washington kills forced CSUN into a timeout at 20-17. A Stinson hitting error out of the timeout gave the Huskies a four-point cushion which is the margin they would clinch the match with the 25-21 win. 

For the Huskies, Krista Vansant led a trio of hitters in double figures with a match-high 18 kills (.424). Lianna Sybeldon added 13 kills (.435) and Cassie Strickland chipped in 10 (.304).

After winning 10 of its 13 non-conference matches, Cal State Northridge returns home next weekend (Sept. 28) to host UC Davis in its Big West opener at 7 p.m.