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Oct 20, 2013 1:43 AM by Brian Thurmond

Mustangs Fall in Five Set Thriller to Cal State Northridge

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - Senior Megan McConnell tied her career-high in kills, but it would go by the wayside as the Cal Poly volleyball team lost to conference leading Cal State Northridge in five sets. CSUN won by set scores of 27-25, 26-28, 22-25, 25-18 and 15-11.

With the win the Matadors improve to 6-1 in conference matches and 16-4 overall while the Mustangs fall to 2-4 in the Big West and 8-11 overall.

The five set match included 38 tie scores and 15 lead changes as the teams battled.

McConnell tied her career-high 20 kills that she set against San Jose State earlier this season. Her kills came on 51 swings. Her all-around match included eight digs and four total blocks (one solo). Sophomore Hannah Schleis recorded 18 kills while freshman Taylor Gruenewald had 11 kills and four total blocks (two solo).

Sophomore Maddie Kuber handed out 54 assists while Steffi Sooter recorded a team-high 16 digs.

CSUN's Casey Hinger led all players with 21 kills while Natalie Allen added 14 of her own. Mahina Haina and Cieana Stinson each added 11 kills. Kelcie Randazzo recorded 27 digs.

CSUN out hit the Mustangs, .299 to .192, and recorded 15 more digs (62-47) while the Mustangs had three more aces (6-3) and the teams tied with 13 total blocks each.

In the first set alone there were 11 tie scores and six lead changes as the Mustangs battled to stay in the set despite hitting only .182. CSUN hit .306, but committed five service errors and were outblocked 3-2. Schleis had five kills to lead the Mustangs while Hinger had six.

The second set went the way of the first with 13 tie scores and four lead changes. Both teams held the hot hand with the Mustangs hitting .405 and the Matadors, .395. McConnell had nine kills to lead Cal Poly with Schleis adding seven with the Mustangs prevailing 28-26.

The third set kept the pace up with the Mustangs hitting .323 and CSUN, .310. Cal Poly held a 2-0 advantage in aces in the set and outblocked the Matadors, 3-1. Gruenewald and McConnell each had four kills to lead the team.

The fourth set would open tight, but CSUN would pull away as the Mustangs struggled, hitting -.135. In the set Cal Poly had eight kills with 13 attack errors. CSUN hit .125, but it would be enough to force a fifth and deciding set.

In the fifth set CSUN grabbed an early lead they would not relinquish. The Matadors hit .364 while limiting Cal Poly to a .167 hitting percentage. Haina paced CSUN with three kills with Hinger and Allen each adding two.

Cal Poly returns to the court on Oct. 25 when the team travels Cal State Fullerton for a Big West Conference match.

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