Matadors Defeat Cal State Fullerton in Four, Earn First Big West Win

Final Box Score

Matador Season Stats

FULLERTON, Calif. – Just two days after suffering a heartbreaking loss against Hawai'i in its Big West season opener, Cal State Northridge (10-4, 1-1 BWC) rebounded in impressive fashion as the Matadors defeated Cal State Fullerton 21-25, 25-11, 25-15, 25-21 Friday evening at Titan Gym.

The victory increases the Matadors' win streak against the Titans (6-8, 0-1 BWC) to three matches, and improves the team's record in Fullerton to 10-8. Friday's match was the first of back-to-back road contests on CSUN's weekend schedule, the team will end its short road trip at UC Riverside Saturday evening.

Mahina Haina led all Matadors with 14 kills on 37 swings to record her seventh double-figure kill total of the season. Narrowly trailing Haina on the scoresheet were teammates Casey Hinger and Britney Graff; the former recorded 13 kills, with the latter ending her evening with 12 kills and 11 digs to record her third double-double of the season.

One of two Matadors to set a new season high against Fullerton, Monica McFarland recorded 20 digs against the Titans, two more than her previous mark originally set against James Madison at the Long Beach Mizuno Invitational (Sept. 1). In addition to McFarland, Sam Kaul set a season high of her own with eight kills, topping her previous high of seven earned against Evansville (Aug. 25) and LaSalle (Sept. 7).

Responsible for eight of the last 10 points scored in the first set, Fullerton was able to take an early one-set lead against a Northridge squad that was competing in its first conference road match of the 2012 campaign.

Northridge responded in the following frame by jumping out to a 7-2 lead, and scored five unanswered points midway through the set to tie the match at one apiece. The Matadors hit a blistering .405 (18-1-42) in that second set compared to a Fullerton squad that was held to a .068 (9-6-44) hitting percentage.

CSUN's front-line continued its stellar play as the evening progressed; in addition to holding the Titans to an even lower hitting percentage in the third (11-9-45, .044), the Matadors were responsible for scoring  10 of the set's first 12 points to earn its first lead of the evening.

The Titans made the fourth set a difficult one for the Matadors as both teams were responsible for 15 tied scores, and four lead changes throughout the final frame.  Leading 24-21, Kaul and Cieana Stinson forced Fullerton's Gabrielle Dewberry to commit the Titans' 26th attack error to end the evening.

CSUN outblocked Fullerton by a 20-10 margin, and also recorded an attack percentage that was twice as high as its opponents. The Matadors finished the evening hitting .256 (59-19-156) compared to the Titans' .108 (44-26-166) percentage.

As a team, Northridge also set two new four-set season highs with its effort in Fullerton. In addition to finishing with 81 digs, eight more than the previous season high recorded against Idaho (Sept. 3), the Matadors also recorded 20 blocks. The previous four-set, season-high blocks total took place against Wisconsin at the Mizuno Invitational, a match that saw CSUN collect 10 blocks against the Badgers.

Northridge has less than a day to prepare for its next Big West opponent, UC Riverside (5-9, 0-1 BWC), as the Matadors will travel to the Inland Empire on Saturday, Sept. 21 to face the Highlanders in a 7 p.m. contest at the SRC Arena. A radio broadcast, live stats and internet stream will be available at GoMatadors.com.