FULLERTON, Calif. - Behind a combined 23 kills from Natalie Allen and Mahina Haina, Cal State Northridge swept Cal State Fullerton for the second time this season 27-25, 25-23, 25-20 Friday night at Titan Gym.
With the win, the Matadors improve to 11-10 overall and 5-4 in the Big West and claim their third straight win and second conference road win. By sweeping the Titans for the second time this season, Northridge takes two 3-0 decisions over Fullerton for the first time since the 1992 season.
"We had a good tactic with our leftside block that worked out for us tonight," said Matador head coach Jeff Stork. "Sydney (Gedryn) did a nice job with the game plan and improvised effectively, we had a pretty balanced attack tonight.
"I think the fact that we won on the road, playing two tight sets then controlling the third set says a lot about what this team is trying to do."
Allen led the Matadors with 12 kills (.216) and 11 digs, her team-leading seventh double-double of the season. Haina added 11 kills (.167) and three blocks while Casey Hinger chipped in eight kills (.375) and six blocks in her return to her hometown. Gedryn posted 35 assists and nine digs while libero Cindy Ortiz dug a match-high 15 balls.
The Matadors led virtually the entire first set as they attempted to win their fourth straight set over the Titans. Allen's kill put CSUN in front by four at 17-13 forcing Fullerton into its first timeout. Sam Kaul's kill kept the Matadors on top by four (18-14) before the Titans rallied for three straight closing the gap to 18-17. Kills from Gedryn and Hinger increased the Northridge lead to 21-18 when the Titans got a kill from Ayana Whitaker followed by back-to-back kills from Kayla Neto to tie the set 21-21.
After Fullerton was whistled for a double contact keeping the Matadors in front 22-21, a Hinger service error and a Neto kill gave the Titans their first lead since the opening stages of the frame. But CSUN responded with kills from Kaul and Allen and the Matadors had their first set point at 24-23. A pair of Neto kills staved off a pair set points before Neto committed a service error and the Matadors cashed in on their third attempt, taking the set 27-25.
With the score knotted at 13-13 in set two, a Leah Maurer kill, a Titan block and an Allen hitting error gave the Titans a three-point cushion forcing the Matadors into a timeout. A Maurer error and an Allen ace right out of the timeout quickly pulled CSUN within 16-15. Down 17-16, the Matadors tallied three straight on a block, a Hinger kill and a Titan hitting error while trying an overpass. With a 19-17 lead, CSUN would not trail again despite Fullerton getting within one six times in the latter stages.
The third set was a tight as the first two as the two teams traded the lead until 16-16. Stork then inserted Nicole Jarvis into the lineup and the move paid immediate dividends as the sophomore from Oxnard combined with Gedryn to stuff Neto and then put up a solo block on Whitaker to give CSUN an 18-16 lead. Ensuing kills from Haina and Allen gave the Matadors their largest lead of the frame at 20-16. The Titans got within two at 20-18 but could get no closer as a pair of Una Siljegovic kills ended the set in Northridge's favor 25-20.
Neto led Fullerton (9-13, 4-6 Big West) with a match-high 21 kills (.212) while Maurer added seven kills.
Cal State Northridge takes to the court again on Saturday as the Matadors travel to the Walter Pyramid to take on conference-leading Long Beach State. First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m.
- GO MATADORS -