Senior hitter Emily Hartong put down 25 kills and sophomore hitter Tai Manu-Olevao added 16 but it wasn’t enough as No. 8 Hawaii was upset by Cal State Northridge tonight 30-32, 28-26, 20-25, 25-22, 15-10 in Northridge, Calif.
It was second consecutive season that the teams went to five sets at the Matadome. The Rainbow Wahine won last year 3-2 but couldn’t hold off the home team tonight when losing to the Matadors for the first time in 15 meetings.
It was the first time since 1994 that Hawaii (16-2, 5-2 Big West) lost two conference matches. That year, the Wahine were 15-3 in the Big West.
The Matadors (17-4, 7-1) got 16 kills from Casey Hinger to remain atop the Big West standings.
Freshman hitter Nikki Taylor added 14 kills and senior libero Ali Longo finished with 25 of Hawaii’s 76 digs. Sophomore middle Jade Vorster was in on 10 blocks, with Taylor and Hartong in on four. The Wahine were out blocked 16-14.
For CSUN, Casey Hinger put down 16 kills with 11 digs, and Cieana Stinson added 15 kills. ‘Iolani graduate Mahina Haina finished with 12 kills and Natalie Allen added 11 kills and 14 digs for the Matadors, now 7-1 in five-set matches.
All of Hawaii’s losses this season have come in five sets. The Wahine, 1-3 in five-setters this year, also fell to San Diego and UC Santa Barbara five; they beat Creighton last month 3-2.
The Wahine had a chance to take a 2-0 lead in sets when leading 24-23. But the Matadors hung tough, tying it at 24, 25 and 26.
Kills by Sam Kaul and Allen gave CSUN a 28-26 win and evened the match.
Hawaii appeared to have gained momentum at the end of Set 3, scoring nine of the final 10 points, including an 7-0 serving run by senior setter Mita Uiato.
The Matadors answered back, leading Set 4 nearly from the start. The Wahine closed to within 22-21 and 23-22 but could get no closer with a kill by Kaul and stuff of Manu-Olevao sending it to a fifth.