On an emotional Senior Night, the CSUN women’s volleyball team swept the visiting Cal State Fullerton Titans in the Matadome, capping of a Thanksgiving week that saw the team go 6-0 in sets.
“We’re getting better and better,” head coach Jeff Stork said. “It’s unfortunate that maybe the season is over, and it would be nice to have our second half of the season be our first half. If we could go another four or five matches, we’d be even better.”
Senior libero Cindy Ortiz finished with 18 digs while fellow senior defensive specialist Monica McFarland had 12 to close out their collegiate careers. Ortiz ended her time at CSUN as the school’s all-time digs leader.
“I’ve come so far being unrecruited and every year, I thought I got so much better,” Ortiz said. “I’m so proud of myself, about how far I’ve come and how much I’ve accomplished.”
Titan libero Gabrielle Dewberry was singled out by the Matadors as they repeatedly spiked the ball her way.
Early in the first set, sophomore middle blocker Casey Hinger nailed Dewberry and sent her rolling onto the Matadome floor to make it 4-3 Titans. Soon after, Hinger tied it up. The second-year middle finished with 11 kills and eight blocks.
“Even though there were a couple of points where we should have gotten some balls up or should have put some balls away, I think this was it for us,” Hinger said. “We were going to go out with a bang and there was no doubt about that.”
The teams were trading points until freshman opposite hitter Cieana Stinson hit a cross-court kill from the right side to give CSUN a two point lead.
Hinger and Gedryn blocked a Fullerton attack to extend Northridge’s lead to six. Two Titan errors helped the Matadors pad their lead by as much as eight.
Leah Best and Kayla Neto blocked one of Hinger’s trademark skyhook kills to close the deficit to six, 20-14 CSUN. Neto finished with a game-high 13 kills while Best had nine for the Titans.
Junior outside hitter Mahina Haina delivered the winning hit that sent multiple Titans scrambling and gave the Matadors a 25-19 first set win. Haina had 10 kills and five digs.
Like the first set, the teams traded points until a Matadors error gave the Titans a 7-5 lead.
Down 11-7, CSUN came out of a timeout on a 4-0 run, capitalized by a Stinson kill from the right to left. Hinger hit a powerful kill to tie the set at 12, but Best stuffed the Matador block to retake the lead.
Stinson hit a kill so hard into Dewberry that she got knocked back and the ball went flying into the Matadome stands to make it 19-18 CSF.
Hinger popped the ball over the defense to get the Matadors to set point and both Hinger and Gedryn blocked the Titan attack to take the second set, 25-22.
In the third set, Hinger hit a ball right off the chest of Abbie Miraldi to make it 5-3 CSF. Soon after, Hinger and Gedryn teamed on a block to make it 5-4 and junior outside hitter Britney Graff stuffed a block to even it up at five.
Later, Graff blocked a furious Titan offensive to get CSUN to a 23-19 lead. After Moreland hit into the net to force match point for CSUN, Graff emphatically spiked it right into Dewberry to win the game for Northridge.
The team is awaiting word on potential playoff seeding in the upcoming NCAA tournament.