Matadors Fall in Straight Sets at Sixth-Ranked UCLA

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Cal State Northridge threatened early and late, but sixth-ranked UCLA dashed any Matador upset hopes and defeated CSUN in straight sets (25-22, 25-17, 25-17) Monday night at the Wooden Center.

The Matadors (6-5) opened up a four-point lead in the opening set and led by as many as six points in the third set but the Bruins overcame each and every CSUN lead on their way to the straight set win. 
Freshman Casey Hinger's seven kills (.158), six blocks and five digs led the Matadors, while Sam Kaul (.333) and Mahina Haina (.160) each added six kills. Northridge hit just .079 against the Bruins but did out-block UCLA 8.0-5.0. Cindy Ortiz had a match-high 19 digs in the loss.
In the opening set, the Matadors looked unfazed by the Bruins' lofty ranking as they jumped out to an early 5-1 lead after the second of two co-blocks, this time from Hinger and Graff. The CSUN lead was still four (6-2) after a Bruin service error but an ensuing 6-1 UCLA run gave the Bruins their first lead when Allen couldn't handle a Kelly Reeves serve.
The Matadors however regained the edge and built their lead back to four at 13-9 following three consecutive Bruin hitting errors. Following a UCLA timeout, a Sam Kaul kill put CSUN on top 14-10 but the Bruins engineered a 7-3 run to knot things against at 17-17. A Rachael Kidder kill and a Kidder solo block gave UCLA its largest lead (19-17) and despite staying within one the remainder of the set, the Bruins pulled away late to claim the 25-22 win.
A pair of Northridge miscues gave UCLA a 3-1 lead early in set two before a Hinger-Allen block, a Bruin error and a Hinger kill put the Matadors back in front 4-3.  A Kidder kill followed by a Haina hitting error put the Bruins back in front 7-5 and UCLA eventually built its lead to three (9-6) on back-to-back kills from Sara Sage.
The Bruin lead grew to four at 12-8 before kills from Haina and Kaul ended the run while keeping the Matadors within two at 12-10.  A Hinger-Graff co-block kept Northridge within striking distance at 15-13 but after a Haina kill pulled the Matadors within 16-15, a late 5-0 UCLA run proved to be the difference as the Bruins went up two sets with the 25-17 win.
With UCLA's Lainey Gera serving in the final set, the Bruins overcame a six-point Matador lead (14-8) to tie the score at 14-14 following a Reeves kill. The Bruin run was ultimately 14-2 which erased all doubt and UCLA cruised home with the 25-17 win.
"We can't give away points against a good team like UCLA," said head coach Jeff Stork. "We took advantage of some errors by them in the first set, scored an equal number of positive points in the second set yet we gave them 10 points and we can't do that and beat a team like this. In the third set we were up 14-8 and had a complete breakdown."
UCLA was led by Kidder's double-double of 13 kills (.109) and 11 digs while Kelly Reeves added eight kills (.300) and also had 11 digs.
Cal State Northridge concludes the pre-Big West portion of the 2011 schedule Saturday, Sept. 17 against BYU. First serve in The Matadome is scheduled for 1 p.m.