Solid Hitting & Blocking Propels No. 21 CSUN Past Cal Poly for Seventh Straight Win

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - 21st-ranked Cal State Northridge extended its current winning streak to a season-high seven straight as the Matadors swept Cal Poly 25-13, 25-15, 25-14 in a Big West Conference match Thursday night at The Matadome.

A Balanced hitting effort, led by Casey Hinger's match-high nine kills, spearheaded the CSUN sweep. The junior from Fullerton, Calif., hit .500 in 18 errorless attacks to go with six digs and pair of blocks. Cieana Stinson added eight kills (.312) while both Natalie Allen (.250) and Mahina Haina (.235) had six kills.

The hitting trend continued team wide as Sam Kaul hit .333 with five kills and a match-high seven blocks and Julie Haake came off the bench to also record five kills while hitting .500 on eight attacks. CSUN setter Sydney Gedryn spread her sets around as seven players had at least four kills as the Matadors hit .351 (43-9-97) as a team.

CSUN (22-4, 12-1 Big West) was exceptional defensively as well as the Matadors posted four solo blocks and 20 assisted blocks to limit the visiting Mustangs to a .000 (26-26-109) hitting clip.

"As good as we played tonight I think we can be better," said Matador Head Coach Jeff Stork. "There were some plays here and there that could have created a larger gap but overall the players had the right mindset and executed the scouting report extremely well. The fact that they hit .000 is a testament to our block defense and the fact that we hit .351 as a team says that we're doing some good things offensively as well."

Leading by just one at 8-7 in the opening set, CSUN outscored Cal Poly 6-2 over the next eight points to open up a 14-9 lead. Back-to-back stuffs by Haina and Kaul capped the Matador rally. The CSUN lead soon swelled to as many as eight (20-12) following a kill by Stinson and the Matadors won the first set going away 25-13.

Set two started out in the same fashion as the Matadors held a 9-7 lead after a Mustang kill. CSUN however answered with a 7-0 run to take open an insurmountable 16-7 cushion. The Matadors got kills from Hinger, Gedryn and a pair from Stinson to highlight the rally. Kaul then teamed up with a pair of teammates on another pair of back-to-back blocks and CSUN led 21-12 before setting on a 25-15 final.

The final set was much of the same as an 8-8 tie soon became a 14-9 Matador lead as five Cal Poly hitting errors, two on CSUN blocks, put Northridge in front to stay. The Matadors again led 21-12 before a late Mustang run got the Mustangs within seven at 21-14. But a pair of late kills from Haake, the final coming on match point, sent CSUN to its seventh straight win and 22nd of the season.

Taylor Gruenewald and Megan McConnell each had a team-high six kills to lead Cal Poly (10-14, 4-7 Big West).

The Matador win sets up a grudge match with second-place UC Santa Barbara on Saturday night as CSUN looks to avenge its one and only conference loss which came in Santa Barbara on Oct. 18. The Matadors will honor seniors Sydney Gedryn, Britney Graff and Mahina Haina in pre-match festivities.


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