October 15, 2011

Straight-Set Win Over UC Irvine Gives Matadors Second Consecutive Big West Home Sweep

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Cal State Northridge improved to 2-3 at home and posted its second consecutive sweep at The Matadome as the Matadors topped UC Irvine 25-18, 25-11, 26-24 in a Big West match Saturday night.

With the win, Northridge (9-10, 3-4 Big West) moves ahead the Anteaters (7-11, 2-5 Big West) in the Big West standings as both teams came in with 2-4 conference marks.

Sophomore Natalie Allen paced the Matadors offensively as she put down 11 kills (.250) while also adding a match-high 13 digs for her team-leading sixth double-double of the season. Fellow sophomore Mahina Haina added eight kills (.280) and a season-high five blocks. Britney Graff chipped in five kills (.188) and also reached double figures with 12 digs as the Matadors had 48 team digs to 41 for UCI.

CSUN stifled the Anteater offense limited UCI to an .066 hitting clip while hitting .287 themselves. The Matadors also had four aces to one for the 'Eaters and out-blocked UCI 11.0-5.0.

"The quality of play was up, particularly in the second set," said head coach Jeff Stork. "We didn't give away too many points, produced a lot ourselves and we kept them out of system which sets up our serve-block defense.

"I thought Sydney (Gedryn) did a real good job distributing the ball to the right people. I'm really happy with the way the team played tonight."

With the score knotted at 12-12 in the opening set, the Matadors got a kill from Graff and a UCI hitting error to open up a 14-12 cushion. That was the margin CSUN needed as the Matadors eventually boosted the lead to 17-13 after another Anteater miscue. Sam Kaul's kill kept Northridge in front by four (20-16) and the Anteaters could only get within two the rest of the way before Casey Hinger's kill closed out the set.

Trailing 3-2 early in the second set the Matadors engineered a 7-1 run, behind the serving of Hinger and Gedryn, to bolt out to a 9-4 lead. A Shannon Flemming kill temporarily pulled UCI within three (9-6) before seven straight Matador points all but salted away the set as Kaul's kill put CSUN up 16-6. A Gedryn setter dump made it 20-9 and CSUN cruised home with the 25-11 win as Nicole Jarvis put away a kill on set point.

The third and final set was the tighest of the match as the teams battled to 16 ties and four lead changes. Neither team led by more than two points until Shaina Olsen's attack was stuffed by Kaul and Gedryn giving the Matadors a 14-11 lead. But UCI would not go away and after Pauline Acres blocked Allen's attack the score was tied again at 15-15. CSUN would not surrended the lead and built its lead back to three at 21-18 on a Hinger kill. But a 5-1 UCI run over the next six points put the Anteaters back in front 23-22 following an Olsen kill. Haina's kill out of a Matador timeout evened the score and after a UCI hitting error, Northridge had match point at 24-23. The Anteaters saved one match point on Aly Squires' kill but the Matadors cashed in on another Haina kill and a ball handling error on UCI setter Mary Carls.

Squires wound up leading the Anteaters with nine kills (.138) while Olsen chipped in seven kills (-.029). UCI libero Kristin Winkler matched Allen with 13 digs in the loss.

Cal State Northridge continues its two-match homestand next Saturday, Oct. 22 as the Matadors host UC Riverside at 7 p.m. The match is part of the Dig Pink effort to raise money for Breast Cancer Awareness.

- GO MATADORS -

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