LONG BEACH, Calif. - After a solid opening set, Cal State Northridge struggled through sets two and three before narrowly dropping set four in a 23-25, 25-11, 25-12, 25-21 loss to Wisconsin in its opening match of the Long Beach Mizuno Invitational at Walter Pyramid.
The Matadors (2-2) were paced by Natalie Allen's 13 kills (.270) and 12 digs but CSUN was not able to overcome its hitting struggles in the middle two sets. The Matadors hit .220 with 15 kills in 41 swings in claiming set one (25-23) but put down just six kills in both sets two and three while hitting .056 and -.038 respectively. CSUN brought its hitting percentage back up to .273 in nearly forcing a fifth before bowing in set four 25-21.
Matador setter Sydney Gedryn was Northridge's second-best hitter in the match as she added seven kills (.312) to go with 31 assists, eight digs and four blocks. Casey Hinger chipped in six kills but struggled to a .118 hitting clip in 17 attacks. As a team the Matadors wound up hitting .140 with 42 kills and 23 errors in 136 swings.
The Badgers (4-1), who hit .167 in dropping the opening set, found their offensive rhythm over the final three frames. Wisconsin hit .372, .462 and .417 in sets two through four and ultimately hit .340 (65-15-147) for the match. Bailey Reshel led three Badger hitters in double figures with a match-high 15 kills (.316). Alexis Mitchell (.650) and Crystal Graff (.500) each added 13 kills in the win.
The Matadors were outblocked for the first time this season as Wisconsin posted 13.0 team blocks to CSUN's 10.0.
Cal State Northridge returns to the court Saturday afternoon as the Matadors take on James Madison at 3 p.m. at the Walter Pyramid. Matador fans can catch all the action live with Mark Schuermann providing play-by-play at GoMatadors.com.
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