SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Cal State Northridge dropped its first conference match of the season as the Matadors were blanked Friday night at UC Santa Barbara, 25-22, 25-19, 25-15.
CSUN (15-4, 5-1 Big West) had its five-match win streak snapped as the Matadors were swept for the first time since Sept. 13 when No. 24 Creighton defeated Northridge in straight sets. The Matadors are now winless in their last six matches in UCSB's Thunderdome.
On a night the Matadors hit .170 (33-17-94) as a team, senior Mahina Haina had a team-high eight kills while hitting .263 on 19 attacks. Junior Casey Hinger added seven kills while hitting .267 and also added a pair of blocks, no other CSUN hitter had more than five kills in the loss.
Ali Spindt put down a match-high 12 kills (.375) to lead the Gauchos who improved to 9-8 overall and 4-1 in conference play. Katey Thompson added 11 kills while hitting .304 as UCSB hit .263 (40-15-95) as a team.
Set one went back-and-forth until CSUN took an 8-7 lead on a Cieana Stinson kill. But three straight points put UCSB back in front 10-8 propelling the Gauchos on an 11-4 run to extend the lead to 18-12. The Matadors however put together a 3-0 run of their own to get within 18-15 but UCSB scored two straight points to keep the lead at five (20-15). A Hinger kill cut the lead to two (22-20) late in the set but the Gauchos outscored CSUN 3-2 over the final five points to seal the set 25-22.
CSUN looked good early in set two as a block from Natalie Allen and Sam Kaul gave the Matadors a 6-1 lead. The CSUN lead was still three at 10-7 when the Gauchos rolled off five straight to take their first lead. Still trailing by one at 14-13, back-to-back Thompson kills put the Matadors in a 16-13 hole and CSUN would only get within two points the remainder of the set.
A Britney Graff ace knotted the score 7-7 in set three but that would be as close as CSUN would get the rest of the way. Three consecutive Gaucho points boosted the lead to 10-7 and UCSB only extended the lead from that point on. Hinger's attack was stuffed by the Gauchos at 18-11 and UCSB cruised home with the 25-15 win.
Cal State Northridge will look to bounce back on Saturday as the Matadors travel up the coast to San Luis Obispo to take on Cal Poly at 7 p.m.
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