24th-Ranked Matadors Dispatch Cal State Fullerton in Straight Sets
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Mahina Haina and Casey Hinger combined for 22 kills and 24th-ranked Cal State Northridge swept the visiting Cal State Fullerton Titans 25-11, 25-16, 25-22 in a Big West Conference match Thursday night at The Matadome.
The Matadors (18-4, 8-1 Big West) turned up their offense against the Titans as CSUN hit .321 as a team, its highest since hitting .337 against Coppin State on Sept. 20. The Matadors were also effective defensively holding Fullerton to an .062 hitting clip as CSUN recorded 12.0 blocks.
Both Hinger and Haina hit a high percentage as Hinger hit .375 on 24 attacks and Haina connecting at a .360 clip on 25 swings. Hinger also served all three of the Matador aces to go with seven blocks. Natalie Allen narrowly missed her 11th double-double of the season as the junior opposite added eight kills, 11 digs, four assists and four blocks.
Senior setter Sydney Gedryn had a solid offensive match with six kills in nine attacks (.667) while handing our 29 assists with six digs and five blocks. Libero Kelcie Randazzo continued her solid play in the back row with a match-high 17 digs.
The Matadors dominated the opening set, leading 9-1 after the opening 10 points. After the Titans closed to 10-3, CSUN went on a 9-0 run to extend the lead to 19-3. Holding a 24-10 advantage, Haina converted a Steffi Miller set and CSUN won going away 25-10.
The second set appeared headed in the same direction as the Matadors bolted to an early 9-3 lead. An Allen kill kept CSUN in front by six at 12-6 before Fullerton outscored the Matadors 4-1 over the next five points to get within 13-10. But kills from Sam Kaul and Allen capped a 6-2 CSUN run which extended the lead to 19-12 and the Matadors pulled out set two 25-16.
The final frame proved the tightest of the night as the two teams battled to a 17-17 tie. Kills from Allen and Hinger sandwiched a Titan hitting error and the Matadors had a 20-17 lead late. But an ensuing 3-0 run by Fullerton knotted the set for the final time at 20-20. A kill from Cieana Stinson and a co-block from Hinger and Haina gave the Matadors the margin they needed as a 22-20 lead turned into a 25-22 victory.
"I thought we played extremely well in the first two sets but got a little sloppy in the third," said Matador head coach Jeff Stork. "We did a good job of minimizing our hitting and serving errors. I think the players were ready for this team, we had a good scouting report and executed it very well tonight."
Alyse Hensley led the Titans (9-12, 2-7 Big West) with nine kills (.135) while Leah Best chipped in seven kills (.105).
Cal State Northridge concludes its three-match homestand Saturday night as the Matadors host UC Riverside at 7 p.m.
- GOMATADORS.COM -