Matadors earn Labor Day victory on new Matadome floor

Andrew Clark

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CSUN women’s volleyball team defeated Idaho (2-5) in four sets 28-26, 25-17, 21-25, 25-20 in their first game in the newly refurbished Matadome.

Junior setter Sydney Gedryn gets up to set teammate Sam Kaul (15) against Idaho in the Matadors home opener on Labor Day. Loren Townsley/ Photo Editor

Junior outside hitter Mahina Haina led the Matadors (4-2) with 19 kills while junior opposite hitter Natalie Allen added 17 kills, three service aces, and added defensive support with 11 digs.“Everyone hit well tonight,” Allen said.  “It makes it hard for the other team to block and defend us. When everyone’s hitting strong, the blockers don’t know where to gang up on us.”

Matador head coach Jeff Stork praised the performances of Haina and Allen.

“Nineteen and 17 kills apiece is very good,” Stork said. “(Allen)’s always been very good, she’ll do some things that a lot of other players can’t get away with. Most of that has to do with her hand control and her vision. (Junior setter Sydney Gedryn) did a wonderful job tonight distributing the ball and following the game plan.”

Gedryn coordinated the offense with 52 assists while senior libero Cindy Ortiz led the CSUN defense with 24 digs.

“Our passing was really good,” Allen said.  “That led to our setting being really good, and our hitters being able to find holes in their blocks and their defense.”

In the first set, Matador freshman middle blocker Cieana Stinson helped open up an early 2-0 lead.  She finished with seven block assists and seven kills.  Stinson was one of two middle blockers who helped step in for the injured Casey Hinger, who was out with an ankle injury.

Idaho’s Allison Walker had a game-high 20 kills and 12 digs to lead the Vandals.

Haina got the Matadors to set point by spiking the ball right through two Vandal defenders.

“The first game was a real back-and-forth, but once we figured out our side of the net, it was a lot easier,” Haina said.

Stork sized up his team’s efforts after the game.

“I don’t think we played the best volleyball that we’ve played so far this year, but I think cumulatively, it’s one of our better efforts overall,” Stork said. “The first set, I think we were confident in our ability to sideout, I think we were siding out at like 70% in the first two sets, and when you’re doing that, it’s hard to have teams keep up with you.”

After taking the first two sets, the Matadors fell early to the Vandals and never recovered in the third set.

“Maybe we came out a little more relaxed than what we normally would do, but at the end of the day, our confidence showed up again in the fourth set,” Stork said.  “I’d hate to think we were giving sets away, but Idaho played a little bit better, they started blocking the ball a little bit better, transitioning pretty well out of their middles and we had to change our tactic against that a little bit, but we knew that being up 2-0 or 2-1 is a better situation than being down 1-2.”

Idaho miscues in the fourth set led to an early 3-1 Matador lead and Haina added another kill to make it 4-1.

“I give a lot of credit to our middles,” Haina said. “It’s the best feeling when you have nobody up and you just see clear net, it’s exciting.”

The Vandals’ implosion continued while Haina pounded Idaho defenders to make it 10-4.

Despite helping Idaho recover and close the deficit to 24-20, Walker ended the match by hitting a powerful shot out of bounds.

Northridge is still getting used to their renovated home.

“We love the Matadome,” Haina said.  “We liked our Matadome before, but now we love it.”

“It just gives us more confidence,” Allen said. “It’s a lot better now.”