Women’s Volleyball: Matadors’ streak ends against Irvine

Andrew Clark

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Junior setter Sydney Gedryn and the CSUN offense wasn’t enough for CSUN Sunday. Photo credit: Amber Canyon / Contributor

After defeating the Long Beach State 49ers Thursday night at the Matadome, the CSUN women’s volleyball team was looking like it would keep the winning momentum going against UC Irvine, a team that got swept by Hawai’i in Honolulu on Thursday.

Unfortunately for CSUN, that plan didn’t account for the Anteaters performing so well in the Matadome.

The UC Irvine Anteaters ended CSUN’s three-match win streak Saturday night, defeating Northridge in four sets 17-25, 19-25, 25-21, 19-2.

“Neither team was playing extremely well offensively and I think it was two pretty good defensive teams going after each other,” said head coach Jeff Stork.  “Both sides had pretty significantly low sideout percentages, but they were able to press us a whole lot more on the serving side.”

Junior outside hitter Britney Graff had 14 kills and 18 digs to lead CSUN while Irvine redshirt freshman Marisa Bubica had a game-high 16 kills and eight digs for UCI.

The Anteaters had four players with double-digit kills, whereas the Matadors only had two.

CSUN started the first set on a 5-0 run thanks in part from two Graff power kills and a Graff hit off an Irvine block.

Irvine responded with a 3-0 run of it’s own, including stuffing Graff and sophomore middle blocker Casey Hinger a the net.  Hinger had three blocks and four block assists, but was limited to three kills for the night.

The Matadors were up 7-3, but the Anteaters closed the gap to 10-7 and Irvine middle blocker Shannon Fleming blocked a Graff kill to make it 10-8 CSUN.  Fleming finished with 12 kills, eight digs, and six block assists.

Bubica tied up the game with a power kill and soon after gave another cross court kill to make it 13-11 Anteaters.

Junior outside hitter Mahina Haina ended the UCI rally with a kill, but Irvine quickly regained momentum with a trickler over the Matador’s front defense.  Haina had 10 kills and 11 digs in the match.

Irvine continued to pound the Northridge defense from the outsides to make it 19-14 Anteaters before Stork called a timeout.

Junior setter Sydney Gedryn tried to jumpstart a Matador rally, but freshman opposite hitter Cieana Stinson powered the ball through the backcourt and out of bounds to make it 23-17 UCI.

Late in the second set, the frustrated Matadome faithful yelled at referees for not calling a double hit on Irvine, who won the second set 25-18.  The Matadors were out-blocked 8-4 and had a hitting percentage of .093 through two sets.

Part of the low hitting percentage problem could be attributed to players being out of sync with each other.

“We were struggling to stay in rhythm,” Stork said. “I don’t think our passing was particularly good, which creates an issue with finding consistency with the rhythm of the offense. The timing from the pass to the set to the attack was off.”

Early in the third set, another no-call for a double touch tied the score at three and left Stork pacing the sidelines.

Hinger vented frustration out on the ball via a spike down on an Anteater defender, helping CSUN cut the UCI lead to 9-7.

Haina hammered the ball onto Fleming to make it 10-9, but was later roofed twice by Marissa Alvarez and Ella Rosenfeld to make it 12-9 Irvine.

Sophomore middle blocker Sam Kaul and Graff roofed an oncoming Irvine attack to even the game at 14, which kept a 9-3 run going before the Anteaters hit off the block to make it 18-15 Matadors.

Graff hit a ball off the block that started to float back into Matador territory, but Hinger sent it right back to UCI for a 23-21 Northridge lead.

Hinger and Gedryn stuffed the Irvine attack to take the third set 25-21, closing the set on a 4-0 run.

Midway through the fourth set, a setting error by Alvarez gave Haina a chance to extend the rally and make it 14-11 UCI, but Irvine made three consecutive kills, two into the far left zone and another on the right, all three off Haina, to give the Anteaters a 19-12 lead, which Northridge never recovered from.

Graff and the team are looking to improve their consistency on a pending road trip.

“Some teams get runs on us,” she said.  “We can use the great moments we had in the game and use them as momentum to play more steady throughout the game.”

The Matadors begin a three-game road trip next weekend to UC Santa Barbara, Cal Poly, and a rematch with nationally-ranked Hawai’i, a team CSUN nearly beat earlier this month when the Wahine visited the Matadome.