LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Cal State Northridge's magical season concluded Friday night as the Matadors fell in straight sets to sixth-seeded USC 25-19, 25-18, 25-18 in a second round NCAA Tournament match at Galen Center.
CSUN wraps up one of top seasons in school history with a 24-7 overall record and a Big West Tri-Championship. USC (28-5) advances to the NCAA Regionals next weekend also at Galen Center.
"I'm proud of this team, we had an unbelievable season," said Head Coach Jeff Stork. "It's unfortunate that it's over. I think USC is a very good team, they controlled most of the match tonight.
"I thought we played extremely well, minus the errors. We stayed with them offensively with kills and kills per set, but unfortunately a few too many errors on our side, but overall, as we reflect, we look back on the good things and this was an unbelievable season for us, so I'm proud of the girls. I'm proud of the team."
Junior Casey Hinger capped another stellar season with a team and co-match high 11 kills to go with four digs. In her final collegiate match, senior Mahina Haina connected for eight kils and also posted four digs. Juniors Natalie Allen and Sam Kaul each chipped in six kills and sophomore Cieana Stinson added five kills in 19 swings.
The Matadors, one of the top blocking teams in Big West, registered zero team blocks against the Trojans who wound up hitting .340 (40-6-100) as a team. CSUN also had 40 kills as a team but the Matadors committed 24 hitting errors to post a .144 hitting clip. CSUN also did not record an ace but did out-dig the Trojans 47-39 led by Kelcie Randazzo and Allen's 13 digs apiece.
All three sets played out in a similar fashion as the two teams stayed fairly even until the midpoint when the Trojans pulled away. A Gedryn kill had the Matadors within 11-10 in set one when USC rolled off four straight points to go up 15-10. CSUN then trailed by as many as six (18-12) when a late rally cut the lead to four (22-18) following a Hinger kill. That was as close as the Matadors would get as Gedryn was whistled for a ball handling error on set point.
A Sara Shaw hitting error in set 2 again kept CSUN within one at 13-12 before the Trojans, behind the serving of Samantha Bricio, rolled off seven consecutive points to take an insurmountable 20-12 lead.
A five-point USC run early in set three snapped a 2-2 tie and sent the Trojans to a clinching 25-18 win. A Bricio service error temporarily pulled the Matadors back within three at 16-13 but CSUN would get no closer and the Matadors saw their season end in straight sets.
Bricio matched Hinger with 11 kills while hitting .286 on 28 attacks to go with seven digs and two aces. Hannah Schraer added nine kills (.750) and Shaw chipped in six (.294). Trojan libero Natalie Hagglund had a team-high 13 digs in the win.
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