Women’s Volleyball: Northridge bounces back with sweep

Andrew Clark

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The CSUN women’s volleyball team was swept by UC Santa Barbara on Friday, then swept Cal Poly on Saturday in Big West conference play.The Gauchos won their ninth straight match against the Matadors and were led by outside hitter Leah Sully who had a game-high 16 kills.  Middle blocker Britton Taylor chipped in with ten kills for UCSB.  CSUN has not won a game in Santa Barbara since the 2007 season.

Junior outside hitters Britney Graff and Mahina Haina had eight kills apiece for Northridge.  Freshman middle blocker Cieana Stinson made six kills while sophomore Sam Kaul added five.  Both blockers made three blocks each.

The loss marked the first time CSUN had lost consecutive games this season, while UCSB won for only the second time in seven matches.

Junior setter Sydney Gedryn made 24 assists and nine digs while senior defensive specialists Monica McFarland and Cindy Ortiz had 14 digs each in the losing effort.

The Matadors struggled on offense, finishing with a hitting percentage of only .182, compared to the Gauchos’ .254.  Despite out-blocking UCSB 6-4, CSUN was beaten on digs 71-52.

Santa Barbara narrowly won the first set 25-23 and Northridge almost won the second set, hitting .400 in the frame, but UCSB went on to win 25-22 then went on a tear in the final set, committing 19 kills.

The fortunes of the Matadors turned when they continued their trip up the coast to Cal Poly and defeated the Mustangs in consecutive sets Saturday.

Sophomore middle blocker Casey Hinger led CSUN with ten kills in a balanced effort.  Stinson added nine kills while Graff contributed nine kills and led the team with 14 digs.  Haina chipped in with eight kills and Kaul had six kills, five blocks, five digs and a pair of service aces.  Northridge continued its blocking dominance at the net, out-blocking San Luis Obispo 12-5.

Outside hitter Chelsea Hardin led the Cal Poly effort with ten kills and libero Steffi Sooter had 14 digs for the Mustangs.

The first set required extra time before the Matadors were able to seal the deal, 32-30, capped by a Haina kill.
The second set was also tight before Cal Poly helped CSUN with a costly miscue that gave the set to the Matadors.  Northridge had to hold off a 5-1 San Luis Obispo run in the final set before Stinson slammed the door shut with a powerful kill.

CSUN next travels to the Rainbow State to avenge a Big West loss against Hawai’i, the No. 8 team in the country, that the Matadors nearly defeated in five sets last month.