CSUN Tops UNLV in Four Sets in 2014 Season Opener

LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Behind a quartet of Matador hitters, CSUN came back after dropping the opening set to claim a 25-27, 25-18, 33-31, 25-21 over host UNLV in both teams' 2014 season opener Friday morning at Cox Pavilion.

The Matadors (1-0) hit .236 as a team in the opener while the Rebels (0-1) hit just .204 for the match after hitting .333 in their opening-set victory. CSUN did serve six aces, three coming from freshman Katie Sato, but committed 15 service errors.

"It was a good match overall but a little rough around the edges," said CSUN head coach Jeff Stork. "UNLV is a good team so it was a good win in that sense. We need to improve some things but what we did right today was win the match. This early in the season all we see in practice is each other so when you finally play another team there are adjustments that need to be made."

A quartet of CSUN hitters paced the Matador offense as junior Cieana Stinson pounded a match-high 15 kills on a career-high 43 swings. Senior Natalie Allen added 14 kills (.333) and 17 digs for her 40th career double-double while senior Casey Hinger added 13 kils (.105) and junior Danetta Boykin chipped in 10 kills (.200) in her CSUN debut.

Junior Steffi Miller, who takes over at setter for Sydney Gedryn, handed out a career-high 54 assists while running the Matador offense.

"Steffi is a good leader and has a solid grasp of the offense," said Stork. "She is composed and consistent with her setting location and is able to make adjustments through the match."

Senior libero Kelcie Randazzo posted a match-high 19 digs while Miller added 13 for her first career double-double.

After the teams split the first two sets, the Matadors trailed by three for much of the third frame. Down 22-19 late, CSUN rallied to knot the score at 24-24 on a Stinson kill. The Rebels then had four swings at the set but the Matadors answered each time and with the score knotted at 31-31, a Stinson kill and UNLV hitting error gave CSUN the swing set 33-31.   

"Our passing held up in the third set," added Stork. "I thought we were doing some good things but we'll certainly work on our serving."

The Matadors held a slim 12-10 lead in the final set before opening up a six-point cushion (20-14) after putting together an 8-4 run. After seeing the lead cut the three at 24-21, Allen and Miller teamed up to stuff a Rebel attack on match point and CSUN won its opener for the second consecutive season.

The Matadors play their second match of the UNLV Invitational Saturday at 1:30 p.m., as CSUN takes on Western Kentucky.


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