FULLERTON, Calif. - Cal State Fullerton had two match points in the final set but could not close out the match the Titans were edged by CSUN in five sets (25-23, 25-23, 24-26, 23-25, 15-17) Saturday night in the season finale at Titan Gym.
The Titans (0-28, 0-16) finish the season winless for the first time in program history and failed to record a win in conference for the 10th time in history and first time since 1993. CSUN (8-20, 7-9) claimed their second straight five-set win after defeating UC Riverside in five on Friday night.
The night began with a pregame ceremony honoring the Titans four seniors; Korryne Kelley, Ariana Salazar, Kandace Thomas and Mackenzie Olsen and all four of them had outstanding nights despite the loss. All four of them were in the starting lineup to begin the match and came through with solid numbers. Salazar tallied a career-high six blocks (one solo) after coming into the match with four career blocks combined. Kelley set a new career mark as she played in all five sets and posted six digs. Thomas had nine kills with a .389 attacking percentage and Olsen dished out 47 assists to go with a season-high 17 digs, notching her team-leading fifth double-double of the season.
After the seniors, the underclassmen also shined on Saturday night as freshman Megann Delgado blasted 17 kills to lead the team and posted a career high six blocks. Sophomore Kyra Hill hammered down 15 kills and set a new career best with 19 digs and fellow sophomore Katelyn Nielsen added 15 kills of her own.
For the Matadors, senior Cieana Stinson capped off her career with 25 kills on a career high 70 attempts Aeryn Owens aded 16 kills and Nada Dragovic posted 10 while Lauren Conati set a new career best with 63 assists. Katie Sato also set a new career mark with 33 digs.
After taking the first two sets, the Titans let the lead slip away as CSUN edged out the Titans in the next two frames. Fullerton led 22-17 in the fourth set but the Matadors closed out the set on a 8-1 scoring run to send the match to a decisive fifth set.
In the fifth, the Titans fell behind 7-3 but would fight back to tie the score at 9-9. The teams traded points until a pair of attacking errors by Dragovic gave the Titans a match point at 14-13. Julie Haake hammered home her ninth kill of the night to tie the score but a service error put the Titans back on the verge of clinching the win.
CSUN responded thanks to a kill from Owens to tie and then an attacking error by Delgado to get the first match point of the night for the Matadors. The visitors did not let it slip as Rachel Diaz capped off a long rally with her fifth and final kill of the night to score the victory for the Matadors.
Notes: Saturday night's match featured 41 ties and 18 lead changes. In the third set alone, the teams were tied 18 times and traded the lead on eight occasions… Each team won each set by two points, marking the first time that has happened in a Titans match this season… Delgado's 17 kills were the second most by a Titans player in a match this season. She tallied 18 at UC Riverside on Sept. 25, another five-set match… Nielsen's 56 attempts were the most by a Titans player this season and a new career high for the sophomore, eclipsing her 44 attacks on Sept. 20, 2014 against Georgetown… Reed's 20 digs marked the fourth time a player surpassed 20 digs in a match. All four belong to Reed… Salazar set a new career best with three aces on Saturday night, which were also the most aces by a Titans player in a match this season… As a team, the Titans tallied eight aces on the night, a new season high…The Titans won the first two sets of a match for the second time this season. They dropped a five-set match after leading 2-0 against Alabama on Aug. 29 in the second match of the season... Saturday night's match went three hours and eight minutes, the longest match of the season for the Titans.