Women’s Volleyball: Northridge endures seesaw weekend of wins and losses

Andrew Clark

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Daily Sundial / File Photo

The CSUN women’s volleyball team had a roller coaster ride of a road trip weekend with a big loss at UC Irvine and a narrow victory at Long Beach State.

To start off the weekend, the Matadors were swept by the Anteaters in three sets Friday night.  Sophomore middle blocker Casey Hinger and junior outside hittter Mahina Haina each had seven kills to lead Northridge.  Junior outside hitter Britney Graff and freshman opposite hitter Cieana Stinson added six kills apiece.

Junior outside hitter Aly Squires led the Anteaters with a match-high 11 kills while freshman middle blocker Ella Rosenfeld had five blocks.  Irvine out-blocked the Matadors 9.5-4.0, only the fourth time this season Northridge did not lead the game in blocks.

Senior libero Cindy Ortiz led the CSUN defensive effort with 15 digs and a service ace in the loss.
The weekend got better for the Matadors with a five-set thrilling victory over rival Long Beach State on Saturday, resulting in the first-ever season sweep of the 49ers and first Northridge victory in The Pyramid in eight years.

Hinger led the CSUN offense with 17 kills, tying her season-high.  Haina and Graff chipped in with 13 and 10 kills, respectively.

Senior outside hitter Janisa Johnson had a match-high 22 kills for the 49ers and teammate Chisom Okpala had 20 kills and led all players with six blocks.

Despite being out-blocked, having a lower hitting percentage and less digs than Long Beach, the Matadors fought their way to a 2-0 lead going into the third set.  The 49ers then won the third and fourth sets 25-19, 25-15 to set up the decisive fifth set.

Junior setter Sydney Gedryn jousted for two points to get Northridge up 12-9 in the fifth set.  After a Long Beach timeout, kills by Hinger and Gedryn led to the final attack, a kill by Haina to seal the victory for the Matadors.

Gedryn finished with 47 assists, topping all Northridge players.  She also had four blocks, nine kills and seven digs.

CSUN had six service aces in the match, led by sophomore middle blocker Sam Kaul with two.  Ortiz had 15 digs for Northridge, her twenty-third time the defensive ace recorded more than ten digs in a match.

The Matadors return home for five of their remaining seven matches, including a pair this weekend against Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara.  Northridge is currently third place in the Big West conference standings with a 16-8 overall record and 7-5 conference record, looking up at Hawaii and UCSB.