NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Cal State Northridge continued its impressive start to the Big West season as the Matadors improved to 4-0 after defeating the visiting Long Beach State 49ers 25-23, 15-25, 25-16, 25-19 Thursday night at The Matadome.
CSUN (14-3, 4-0 Big West) has now won four straight and eight of its last nine matches as it kept pace with conference-leading Hawai'i. Thursday's win was also the Matadors' third consecutive over the 49ers, the longest such streak for a CSUN team over Long Beach.
"This was a very good win for us tonight," said Matador head coach Jeff Stork. "Long Beach has used different lineups lately which makes them a bit difficult to scout. It wasn't a great offensive night for us but again it's a significant win."
Senior Mahina Haina paced the Matador offense with a match-high 16 kills while hitting .351 on 37 swings. Haina also added six digs, two aces and one block. Natalie Allen (.233) added 11 kills in 30 attacks to go with seven digs while Casey Hinger chipped in 10 kills (.333) and matched Sydney Gedryn with a match-high seven blocks.
Gedryn, who had 41 assists while the Matadors hit .223 as a team, also added five kills and a match-high three aces. Kelcie Randazzo posted a team-high 12 digs from the libero spot while also adding two aces CSUN had nine aces to two for the 49ers.
"Our serve-block defense was very good and our aces to error ratio (9-7) was outstanding," added Stork. "We need to do a little bit more with our offense but we need to leave this one behind and get ready for Irvine."
The Matadors led by as many as five late in the opening set (20-15) before the 49ers tallied three straight to pull within two at 20-18. Kills from Hinger and Allen kill kept CSUN in front by three (21-18 and 22-19) before the 49ers mounted a late rally to cut the lead to one 22-21. But a pair of kills from Allen and a Gedryn kill held off the charge as the Matadors took set one 25-22.
After hitting .405 in the opening frame, CSUN hit just .172 in dropping the second set 25-15 which set up a crucial set three.
In the third, with the Mataors cliinging to a 14-13 lead, a Hinger kill propelled Northridge on an 8-0 run which put the Matadors comfortably in front 22-13. Leading 24-14, Long Beach saved a pair of set points before Haina cashed in on a kill and CSUN led two sets to one.
The fourth and final set was tied 18-18 in the latter stages when the Matador block came up big. Gedryn put up a solo block giving CSUN a 19-18 lead and then she teamed up with Hinger on the next point to give the Matadors a two-point cushion. A 49er hitting error and another Hinger kill capped the 4-0 CSUN run and Long Beach would score just once the rest of the way as the Matadors won going away 25-19.
Joy Miley led the 49ers (8-9, 1-3 Big West) with 13 kills (.409) while Chisom Okpala added 11 (.259).
Cal State Northridge wraps up its brief two-match homestand Saturday against UC Irvine. First serve at The Matadome is scheduled for 7 p.m.
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