Matadors Knock Off Pacific in Five Thrilling Sets, 25-23, 19-25, 30-28, 20-25, 17-15
Oct. 23, 2009
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Brittany Williams and Britney Graff combined for 36 of Cal State Northridge's 63 kills as the Matadors knocked off the visiting Pacific Tigers, 25-23, 19-25, 30-28, 20-25, 17-15 Friday at The Matadome.
Northridge (7-14, 3-5 Big West), winners of three of its last four matches, claimed its first five-set win since defeating Northern Arizona on Aug. 29. Since then, the Matadors have dropped five consecutive matches that have gone the distance.
Williams led the way for Northridge with a team-high 20 kills (.245) while Graff added 16 kills (.297) and 12 digs for seventh double-double of her freshman campaign. Senior Angela Hupp also reached double figures in kills with 13 (.146) and added 31 assists, nine digs and five blocks for her team-leading 17th double-double this season.
The Matadors out-blocked the Tigers by a 16.0 to 10.0 margin as junior Chelsea Johnson had a career-high 10 total blocks (two solo). Tela Burnett also had five blocks (one solo) and libero Monica McFarland had a match-high 25 digs in the win.
Both teams struggled on offense in the early stages of the match as the Matadors hit .077 in the opening set while Pacific hit .027. After trailing early, Northridge opened up a 16-13 set one lead after a Lynda Morales kill and a pair of Morales-Burnett blocks. Northridge held the lead until Pacific drew even 23-23 following a Natalia Tomaszewska-Rebekah Torres block. But after a Dancyne Kama service error, Siara Grayson's ace put the Matadors up a set.
Set two was all Pacific as the Tigers overcame an early 3-1 hole to open up an 8-4 cushion after scoring seven of the next eight points. The Pacific lead grew to as many as eight (22-14) before the Matadors pulled to within five at 24-19 after Mallori Gibson's attack went wide. But Gibson cashed in her next chance and the match was even at one set apiece.
The third set was the tighest of the match as neither team led by more than three points. Pacific led early 6-3 while Northridge held its three-point cushion at 20-17. With the score tied 23-23, the teams traded sideouts until 27-27 when a Svenja Engelhardt kill gave the Tigers set point at 28-27. But a Johnson block evened the score and Masha Vaysburg's hitting error followed by a Hupp kill capped a 3-0 Matador run handing Northridge the set 30-28.
Pacific would not go away easily as the Tigers broke open a 9-9 tie in set four with 7-2 run to open up a comfortable 16-11 lead. The Pacific lead swelled to 20-13 and the Matadors would get no closer than four the rest of the set.
Set five began in all-too familiar fashion for Northridge after Pacific won six of the first eight points. Trailing 7-3, the Matadors put together a 5-1 run, highlighted by kills from Williams and Hupp to pull even at 8-8. Kama's attempt to play a free ball over hit the scoreboard giving Northridge the lead for good at 9-8. The Tigers pulled even at 9-9 and 10-10 but back-to-back kills from Williams and Morales gave the Matadors a two-point lead at 12-10. But back came Pacific which drew even at 14-14 and 15-15 but a Williams kill gave Northridge set point and the Matadors went back to Hupp who put away her 13th kill on match point.
Pacific (15-5, 5-4 Big West) was led by Gibson's 21 kills (.226) while Engelhardt added 15 (.152). Tiger setter Olivia Riley posted 49 assists and a team-high 17 digs.
Cal State Northridge returns to action on Saturday as the Matadors host UC Davis on "Dig Pink" night. All fans can gain free admission to the match by wearing pink to support breast cancer awareness. First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m.
- GO MATADORS -