SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - Junior Casey Hinger pounded a career-high 21 kills as Cal State Northridge salvaged the finale of a two-match road trip as the Matadors rallied for a 27-25, 26-28, 22-25, 25-18, 15-11 win at Cal Poly Saturday at Mott Gym.
CSUN improved to 16-4 overall and 6-1 in the Big West after suffering its first conference loss Friday at UC Santa Barbara.
It was a battle the entire night despite the fact that the Matadors out-hit the hosts .299 to .192. CSUN also had a sizable edge in team digs (62-47) but Cal Poly had six aces to the Matadors' three.
Hinger, who's previous career-high in kills was 18 against UC Davis in 2012, was virtually unstoppable as the junior middle hit .447 with 21 kills and just four hitting errors. She matched her career-high with 38 swings and also totaled a match-high seven blocks.
"Casey is pretty good at hitting the slide and they had trouble stopping it tonight," said head coach Jeff Stork. "Overall I thought our attacking was very good."
Fellow junior Natalie Allen also hit well checking in at .310 with 14 kills in 29 attacks to go with 14 digs, her ninth double-double this season. Cieana Stinson (.360) and Mahina Haina (.114) each chipped in 11 kills while setter Sydney Gedryn posted 54 assists, six kills, five digs and five blocks. Matador libero Kelcie Randazzo shattered her career-high with 27 digs and also had two of CSUN's three aces.
"We played pretty well tonight," added Stork. "The middle of the match didn't go well for us but we made few adjustments and converted a lot of defensive plays in the fourth and fifth sets."
CSUN was solid offensively over the first three sets hitting .306 in set one, .395 in set two and .310 in set three. The one lopsided set in the Matadors' favor, set four, CSUN hit just .125 but limited the Mustangs to a -.135 clip.
Cal Poly scored the first point of the fifth set before the Matadors got a kill from Haina and a solo block from Gedryn to take a 2-1 lead they would never relinquish. Another Haina kill put CSUN up 7-3 and the Matadors would maintain at least a two-point throughout. After the Mustangs crept within 10-8 on a Megan McConnell kill, kills from Stinson and Haina along with a pair of Cal Poly hitting errors set the Matadors up with match point at 14-8. The Mustangs saved three match points pulling to within 14-11 before Hinger's 21st kill of the night ended the match in CSUN's favor.
McConnell paced Cal Poly with 20 kills (.196) while Hannah Schleis added 18 (.213) and Taylor Gruenewald chipped in 11 (.194).
Cal State Northridge returns home for a single match next week as the Matadors host No. 9 Hawai'i in a clash of the top two teams in the Big West standings. Match time on Thursday (Oct. 24) is 7 p.m.
- GOMATADORS.COM -