Nov. 6, 2009
RIVERSIDE, Calif. - Brittany Williams and Britney Graff combined for 31 kills but Cal State Northridge surrendered a two-set advantage as UC Riverside came back to win the final three sets and claim a 21-25, 20-25, 31-29, 25-23, 15-12 win Friday.
The Matadors (7-18, 3-8 Big West) won the first two sets behind the solid hitting of .344 in set one and .306 in set two. But Northridge's fortunes turned over the final three sets as the Matadors hit no higher than .278 and bottomed out by hitting .087 in the decisive fifth set. Five-set matches have not been kind to Northridge this season as the Matadors are now dropped seven of nine matches that have gone the distance.
Williams led Northridge with 17 kills (.188) and also added one block assist for 17.5 points. Graff added 14 kills (.225) and 14 digs for her seventh double-double of the season. Junior Lynda Morales added 12 kills while hitting a season-high .435. Junior Chelsea Johnson chipped in a career-high eight kills (.136) to go with six blocks and senior Angela Hupp notched her team-leading 14th double-double with 54 assists and 10 digs.
The Matadors won the first two sets handily and looked to wrap things up in three as they took a 27-26 lead on a Tonbara Youpele hitting error. Tela Burnett served at match point but Youpele answered which propelled the Highlanders to consecutive points and a chance for the set at 28-27. But Graff's kill evened the score at 28-28 and a Morales kill followed giving the Matadors their second match point at 29-28. But Johnson's service error followed by a pair of Youpele kills sent the match to a fourth set.
Northridge trailed by as many as five points late in set four, only to get to within one at 24-23 before Shelby LeDuff's kill sent the match to a fifth set.
A UCR hitting error gave the Matadors the opening point of set five and the Matador lead ultimatley swelled to as many as three as Williams' kill gave Northridge a 10-7 cushion. But four straight Highlander points, two coming on Williams' hitting errors, gave UCR its first lead at 11-10. Then after a Highlander service error evened the score at 11-11, the Matadors would tally just one more point the rest of the way and UCR claimed the 15-12 win.
Youpele led the Highlanders with a match-high 21 kills (.210) while Dominique Cowling added 15 kills and 18 digs.
Cal State Northridge wraps up its three-match road trip on Saturday as the Matadors travel to UC Irvine. First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m.
- GO MATADORS -