UA volleyball can’t hold two-set lead

TUCSON, Ariz. — After dropping the first two sets of the match, Cal State Northridge (1-1) rallied to knock off Arizona 3-2 (25-23, 25-22, 24-26, 21-25, 9-15), Friday night at McKale Center to close out the first day of the Wildcat Classic.
 
The Matadors outhit the Cats .281 to .223 on the night and had decisive advantages in the final three stanzas. Cal State Northridge also outblocked UA 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 standout performances from the sophomore duo of Madi Kingdon and Taylor Arizobal. 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 recorded her first double-double in a UA uniform, dishing out 59 assists to go with 12 digs. On the defensive end, Candace Nicholson and Ronni Lewis combined for 27 digs. Freshman Halli Amaro and sophomore Shaquillah Torres were just a kill away from double-figures, as they each finished the night with nine.
 
The opening set 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, capped by a set-clinching kill by Arizobal to give the Wildcats a 25-23 win.
 
The second set was a seesaw 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. 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 battled back, 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 Wildcats conclude play in the event Saturday night at 7 p.m. against Utah Valley.