After beating Pacific in a five-set match Thursday, the CSUN women’s volleyball team easily defeated the UC Davis Aggies in four sets at the Matadome.
Sophomore middle blocker Casey Hinger led all players with 14 kills and five block assists.
“We knew we can beat them, so we knew we had them on the ropes the whole time,” Hinger said. “We just had to perform at that level. Blocks are huge not just in points but in motivation, it’s just so much momentum.”
Junior outside hitter Mahina Haina was right behind her with 13 kills and three digs. Haina finished with a .542 hitting percentage, topping all Northridge players.
Assistant coach Susie Terrusa, stepping in for head coach Jeff Stork who was in Massachusetts to be inducted into the Volleyball Hall of Fame, liked her team’s performance.
“We played a great match, we sided out, we had an extremely high hitting percentage, and we outblocked them,” Terrusa said.
The middle blockers led the initial charge for CSUN, with kills by Hinger, and sophomore Sam Kaul to give the Matadors an early 4-1 lead. Later in the set, Stinson and Hinger tag teamed on a block to make it 6-5 Northridge.
UC Davis errors, including a painfully mistimed jump, made it 11-6 CSUN, forcing an Aggie timeout. Another error soon after made it 12-6.
Junior outside hitter Britney Graff spiked the ball off the fingers of Davis setter Jenny Woolway to put Northridge up by six.
Aggies Devon Damelio and Victoria Lee stuffed a Stinson kill to put CSUN on top 17-11, but the Matadors forced a sideout to regain possession and an 18-11 lead. Soon after, Stinson came right back with a kill from the right side to put Northridge up by seven.
Mahina Haina hammered the ball onto Aggie defensive specialist Kaitlyn Plum to make it 22-13 CSUN.
“We just passed really well and set really well and it opened up a lot,” Haina said. “Casey got up every time, so it opened up for me and vice versa.”
After the Matadors were expecting a call to go their way and it did not, Hinger did one of her trademark skyhook kills to get CSUN to set point.
A Graff kill and UC Davis net violation won the first set for CSUN, 25-15.
UC Davis went on a 4-0 run to start set two, capped by a kill from outside hitter Devon Demelio and a hitting error by Graff to make it 5-2 Davis.
After teaming up with Haina to lead the Matadors on a 7-0 run, junior setter Sydney Gedryn hit a powerful off-balance kill to narrow the deficit to 24-23, but UC Davis closed out the second set 25-23.
Hinger finally broke the logjam in the fourth set with a timely block to make it 8-6 CSUN.
Graff kept the momentum going with a kill from the left side to make it 11-7, forcing an Aggie timeout.
An Aggie error and a Haina cross-court kill put two more points on the board for CSUN, 16-10. Stinson and Kaul blocked the attack to make it 17-10.
Hinger ricocheted the Aggie attack onto the opposite side of the court to put Northridge up by eight. Soon after, she hammered the ball just inside the right back corner to make it 22-14 CSUN.
UC Davis mounted a late rally, but Hinger spiked the ball so hard onto Aggie libero Caroline Mercado, she bounced it into the rafters and off the basketball backboard to make it 23-19.
Davis again tried to come back, narrowing the deficit to 24-23, until a Graff tip off the Aggie defender ended the game in favor of Northridge.
Terrusa was mindful of the team’s progression towards their goal.
“Our goal is to win 20 matches, we’re at 15 right now and we’re on the road next week.”
The Matadors next go to UC Irvine to avenge an earlier loss this season and Long Beach State, where a win in The Pyramid can be a daunting task.
“We want to win, we are looking forward to next week because we want this conference so bad,” Hinger said. “We beat Long Beach here and we want to prove to them it’s not a fluke.”