CSUN now has a two game winning streak after defeating UC Riverside 3-1 at the Matadome Saturday night.
“It boosts our energy,” senior middle blocker Lynda Morales said about the teams’ first Big West Conference win. “We’ll carry this feeling into the other games.”
The Matadors (8-12) (1-4 Big West) won the first set 25-21 behind five kills by freshman opposite hitter Natalie Allen and 11 assists by junior setter Sam Orlandini. CSUN led early in the set before giving up the lead at 11-12. The set went back and forth until CSUN got the lead for good at 20-19.
“We played really well and as a team,” Morales said. “When we play as a team we win.”
The second set was tightly contested with 10 ties and five lead changes. The Highlanders (2-17 overall) (0-5 Big West) won the set 26-24.
The Matadors shot .186 and converted 47 percent of their sideout opportunities while Riverside hit .200 and converted 51 percent of their sideout opportunities.
CSUN’s Allen led the team with five kills and senior outside hitter/defensive specialist Janet Alvarado had four kills.
In the third set the Matadors went down by as many as three points. CSUN tied the score on a kill by Allen and took the lead on a service ace by freshman outside hitter Mahina Haina. After a timeout by Riverside, the Matadors went on a 7-0 run to distance themselves from the Highlanders. The Matadors led by as many as 10 points and won the set 25-15.
CSUN hit a match high .393 and converted a match high 75 percent of their sideout opportunities.
“We had consistent play in the third set,” CSUN head coach Jeff Stork said. “Puneet (Pataria) had a good attacking rhythm and Sam (Orlandini) was comfortable.”
Northridge beat the Highlanders in the fourth and final set by 25-18 and it led the entire way. The closest the Highlanders came to the Matadors was 2-1. In the set CSUN led by as many as seven points. Riverside hit a match-low .038 while the Matadors hit .171.
“This was a great win for us,” Stork said. “We played a controlled and aggressive game and our serving got better as the game went on.”
Allen had a team-high 16 kills and 20 points. Sophomore defensive specialist/libero Cindy Ortiz had 19 digs and Orlandini led the team with 37 assists.
“This game was so much fun,” Orlandini said. “We played with a lot of energy.”
“UC Riverside has been playing really well recently so I was a little concerned coming in,” Stork said. “But we showed we can beat anyone.”
Next for the Matadors is a road game at Cal State Fullerton Thursday at 7 p.m.