Matadors Make CSUN Shine With First-Ever Conference Championship
DAVIS, Calif. - Cal State Northridge overcame a two sets to one deficit to top UC Davis 21-25, 25-9, 18-25, 27-25, 15-5 as the Matadors earned a share of the Big West Conference title for the first time in school history.
CSUN (23-6, 13-3 Big West), one of three teams to finish atop the conference standings, will now wait to see of it is awarded an at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament. UC Santa Barbara and Hawai'i also earned a share of the conference crown with the Gauchos earning the automatic berth based on tiebreakers.
"It's very exciting, obviously we're tri-champions of the Big West," said Head Coach Jeff Stork. "The girls have worked very hard to put us in this position. We're hoping to committee recognizes that, the body of work that we've put together is impressive and comendable."
On Saturday night at UC Davis' Pavilion, junior Natalie Allen put down a match-high 18 kills while hitting .326 on 43 attacks. Allen also posted a season-high 20 digs while fellow junior Sam Kaul added a career-high 12 kills with just one error in 21 kills to hit a blistering .524. Sophomore Cieana Stinson contributed 11 kills (.281) and three blocks.
As a team, the Matadors had 89 digs to 82 for the Aggies while posting a sizable .254 (62-18-173) to .137 (55-30-183) advantage in hitting.
After dropping two of the first three sets, the Matadors had to eek out a 27-25 victory in the must-win fourth set which set up a dominating effort in the fifth frame.
In the decisive set, CSUN did not commit a single hitting error to hit .632 (12-0-19) on its way to an impressive 15-5 win. The Matadors also limited the Aggies to .250 hitting as UC Davis had four kills in tallying just five points.
It's already been an amazing season," added Stork. "The girls have been focused and dedicated all year, I'm very proud of this team."
The NCAA Selection Show will air Sunday at 6:30 pm on ESPNU.
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