Sept. 24, 2010
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - For the second time in the last three seasons, UC Santa Barbara opened the Big West Conference season in The Matadome and for the second time topped Cal State Northridge in five sets, this time 25-16, 28-26, 19-25, 24-26, 15-10 on Friday night.
The Matadors (6-9, 0-1 Big West) looked to win their conference opener for the first time since 2007 but their comeback from a two-set deficit came up just short as the Gauchos (7-6, 1-0 Big West) pulled out the victory. UCSB also knocked off Northridge in the 2008 opener with a 15-12 win in the fifth set.
Freshman Mahina Haina continued to show she's going to be an impact player in the Big West this season as she pounded a team-high 17 kills (.191) to go with seven digs and three aces. Senior Janet Alvarado came off the bench to put down a career-high 14 kills (.200) and freshman Natalie Allen added 12 kills (.233), seven digs and a pair of aces.
Sophomore libero Cindy Ortiz matched her career-high with 22 digs and setter Sam Orlandini posted her fourth double-double of the season with 52 assists and 11 digs while also recording two solo blocks.
For the Gauchos, Stacey Schmidt was virtually unstoppable as she knocked down a match-high 23 kills in 38 swings with just three errors to hit .526. Charlene DeHoog added 12 kills (.098) and 11 digs and Kara Sherrard chipped in 11 kills.
UCSB never trailed in the opening set, holding the Matadors to an .023 hitting clip while hitting .237 as a team. In set two, Northridge led once midway through (14-12) and once late (24-23) before the Gauchos pulled out the 28-26 win on a DeHoog ace.
Set three was all Matadors as they opened up leads of 17-9 and 21-12 before closing out the Gauchos 25-19 on a Sherrard hitting error. After UCSB opened up 12-8 lead in the fourth set, CSUN was forced to play catch-up to stay in the match. Trailing 15-13, the Matadors engineered a 4-0 run to take their first lead at 17-15 when Alvarado and Lynda Morales teamed up to block Katey Thompson. The Gauchos battled back to tie the score at 18-18 and again at 24-24 but an Alvarado kill and a DeHoog hitting error sent the match to a fifth set.
UCSB jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the fifth set and Northridge would never get even. The Matadors would pull within one four times, the last at 7-6, but that would be as close as they would get. With UCSB leading 9-7, three consecutive points gave the Gauchos the cushion they needed. After Allen's kill pulled CSUN within four at 14-10, Schmidt cashed in and UCSB had the five-set win.
Cal State Northridge concludes its three-match homestand Saturday as the Matadors host Cal Poly at 7 p.m.
- GO MATADORS -