Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Cal State Northridge Rallies To Defeat UA In Five
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: August 24, 2012
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Aug. 24, 2012

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TUCSON, Ariz. After dropping the first two sets of the match, Cal State Northridge (1-1) rallied back to knock off Arizona, 3-2 (25-23, 25-22, 24-26, 21-25, 9-15), Friday night inside McKale Center to close out the first day of the Wildcat Classic.

The Matadors out-hit the Cats, .281 to .223 on the night, which included decisive advantages in the final three stanzas. Cal State Northridge also out-blocked U of A, 9-3 in the match.

Cal State Northridge was led by the trio of Natalie Allen, Mahina Haina and Casey Hinger as each notched double-digit kills. Allen recorded a double-double that included 16 kills and 12 digs. Meanwhile, Cindy Ortiz paced the Matadors with 20 digs.

Once again Arizona (1-1) received incredible production from the sophomore duo of Madi Kingdon (Phoenix, Ariz.) and Taylor Arizobal (Laguna Niguel, Calif.). The two combined for 50 kills and 30 digs. Kingdon recorded her second straight double-double as she finished with a match-high 26 kills and a match-high 21 digs. Arizobal totaled 24 kills to go along with nine digs. Meanwhile, junior setter Chanel Brown (Tempe, Ariz.) recorded her first double-double in a Wildcat uniform – dishing out 59 assists to go with 12 digs. On the defensive end, Candace Nicholson (Long Beach, Calif.) and Ronni Lewis (San Jose, Calif.) combined for 27 digs. Freshman Halli Amaro (Los Alamitos, Calif.) and sophomore Shaquillah Torres (Riverside, Calif.) were just a kill away from double-figures as they each finished the night with nine.

The open set of the match was a tightly contested back-and-forth battle. With Cal State Northridge in front 19-18, the Matadors took the next two points to go in front 21-18, which forced an Arizona timeout. After the break, the Cats got back-to-back kills from Kingdon and Amaro to pull within one. After the Matadors went in front 23-21, Arizona responded by winning four consecutive points, which was capped off by a set clinching kill by Arizobal to give the Wildcats a 25-23 win.

The second set was a see-saw battle throughout the early stages, but the Wildcats took control by extending a one point lead into a five point advantage at 15-10. Cal State Northridge was never able to regain a lead despite cutting the lead to two late in the set. Arizona went on to win 25-22. UA was efficient in the frame by hitting a solid .326 with only four total errors.  

The Wildcats were cruising along through two sets, but the Matadors came out strong following intermission in the third set. Cal State Northridge led for much of the set although it was a battle as the score was tied on 11 occasions in the set. Arizona just could not manage to get over the hump and take a lead. The Matadors broke a 24-24 tie by getting a block followed by a UA attack error, which clinched the set.

Arizona got off to a strong start in the fourth set by jumping out to a four-point advantage at 10-6. Cal State Northridge rallied to tie the score on several occasions, but much like Arizona in the third set, the Matadors could not seem to get over the hump and take a lead. However with the score tied 17-17, the Matadors reeled off three straight points to take a 20-17 lead. CSUN managed to hang on for the 25-21 victory thanks to an efficient set with just two attack errors.

The decisive fifth set was back-and-forth once again as there were five ties and two lead changes in the battle to 15. Once again, the Matadors were able to build some momentum by going on a mini run. With the score tied 7-7, CSUN reeled off five straight points to take a significant 12-7 advantage. The Wildcats were able to score a couple points, but Cal State Northridge played a near flawless set to clinch the match. The Matadors hit .385 with just one error in the set, while limiting Arizona to just .125 hitting.

The final day of the Wildcat Classic starts tomorrow at 1 p.m. with Evansville taking on Cal State Northridge. The Wildcats will play in the tournament finale at 7 p.m. against Utah Valley.

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