Matadors Top UC Riverside in Four Sets to Pick Up First Big West Win

Oct. 9, 2010

Final Stats

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Freshman Natalie Allen knocked down a match-high 16 kills and fellow freshman Mahina Haina added 10 as Cal State Northridge notched its first Big West Conference win with a 25-21, 24-26, 25-15, 25-18 decision over UC Riverside Saturday at The Matadome.

The Matadors (8-12, 1-4 Big West) claimed their second straight win at home and dealt the visiting Highlanders (2-17, 0-5) their fifth straight conference loss.

Allen, who leads CSUN this season with 235 kills, had her best kill total (16) since Sept. 4 at Sacramento State when she also had 16. The freshman from Murrieta, Calif., also added five digs, four blocks and a pair of aces while hitting .306. Haina came off the bench to put down 10 kills (.238) while Una Siljegovic chipped in nine kills (.273) to go with four digs. Libero Cindy Ortiz had a match-high 19 digs and three aces while setter Sam Orlandini posted 27 assists and eight digs.

As a team, the Matadors hit .239 (56-24-134) and had 10 aces to just one for UC Riverside. The Highlanders hit .153 (38-21-111) and were out-blocked by CSUN 9.0-8.0.

The Matadors took an early 5-2 lead in the opening set and held the lead until 11-10 when UCR rattled off three straight points for a 13-11 lead. A Janet Alvarado kill pulled CSUN within 15-14 and a Highlander setting error knotted the set at 15 apiece. The two teams traded sideouts before Allen put down back-to-back kills putting the Matadors on top 17-16. But another three-point UCR run matched the Highlanders' largest lead of the set at 19-17. However, another Allen kill followed by a pair of UCR hitting errors and an Ortiz ace put the Matadors in front to stay at 21-19. Morales' hitting error briefly pulled the Highlanders within one (21-20) before Northridge sealed the set by taking four of the final five points, the last coming on a Haina kill.

Set two was equally tight as the two teams traded the lead until Orlandini's service error evened the score at 11-11. But an ensuing 8-1 Highlander run over the next nine points put UCR in front to stay. Trailing 18-12, the Matadors put together a 7-1 run of their own to get within 19-18 following a Shelby LeDuff hitting error. CSUN also trailed by one at 20-19 before the Highlanders tallied three straight to open up a 23-19 cushion. The Matadors again battled back, this time knotting the score at 24-24 after a Nicole Jarvis kill and a UCR hitting error. But a block from Bianca Endersby and Savannah Thomas followed by an Alvarado hitting error gave UCR the 26-24 win.

Trailing 9-6 in the third set, Northridge engineered a 12-2 run to open up an insurmountable 18-11 lead. Allen served six straight points during the run and also added an ace and a kill. The Matadors hit a match-high .393 in the set three win and won going away 25-15.

Set four saw CSUN bolt out to a 6-1 lead and the Matadors never looked back. An Orlandini-Puneet Pataria co-block gave Northridge a 12-5 lead and despite the Highlanders closing to within three at 17-14, the Matadors pulled away after boosting the lead back to seven at 21-14. Allen's 16th and final kill ended the match with a 25-18 Matador win.

LeDuff wound up leading the Highlanders with 14 kills (.229) while Annishia McCoy added nine kills while hitting .727.

Cal State Northridge heads to Cal State Fullerton for a Big West match next Thursday, Oct. 14 before returning to The Matadome to host UC Irvine next Saturday, Oct. 16.