NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - After jumping out to a commanding two-set lead, Cal State Northridge saw the visiting Loyola Marymount Lions battle back to claim the final three sets and top the Matadors 14-25, 18-25, 25-22, 25-13, 16-14 Saturday at The Matadome.
The Matadors (18-9) looked dominating in claiming the first two sets 25-14, 25-18. CSUN committed just four hitting errors over the first two frames while hitting a blistering .520. But LMU (17-11) made some key adjustments in its lineup over the next three sets which carried the Lions to victory.
"We played a very good match," said Matador head coach Jeff Stork. "Give them some credit for changing things up, they gave us a different look and we took a little time to adjust. Statistically we outplayed them but volleyball is a funny sport, you need to win three out of five. I think we played very well in so many areas so it's disappointing to not come away with a win."
Freshman Cieana Stinson had an impressive match for CSUN putting down a team-high 15 kills while hitting .367 in a team-high 30 swings. Stinson also put up eight block assists as the Matadors posted a sizable 16.0-6.0 advantage in team blocks.
Junior Britney Graff added 12 kills (.381), nine digs and four blocks while sophomore Casey Hinger also reached double figures with 10 kills (.217) to go with seven blocks. Setter Sydney Gedryn had yet another solid all-around match with 44 assists, seven kills, six digs and three blocks while leading the Matadors to a .291 hitting clip for the match.
After pulling out a 25-22 win in set three, the Lions out-hit CSUN .542-.154 to dominate set four 25-13. The two teams played even until 8-8 in the fifth and final set when the Matadors got kills from Stinson and Mahina Haina to take a 10-8 lead. LMU then claimed two straight points to knot the score at 10-10 before another Stinson kill, a Haina ace and a Lion hitting error gave CSUN a three-point cushion at 13-10.
Two straight LMU points cut the lead to 13-12 but an ensuing Lion serve went long giving the Matadors match point at 14-12. But back-to-back hitting miscues by the Matadors saved a pair of match points for LMU which then cashed in an ace and a block to cap a four-point, match-clinching run.
Kathleen Luft led LMU with a match-high 17 kills (.282) while Caitlin DeWitt came off the bench to put down 15 (.400) and Litara Keil chipped in 11 (.154).
Cal State Northridge returns to Big West play next week as the Matadors take their final road trip of the 2012 regular season to Pacific and UC Davis.
- GO MATADORS -