The 3-2 (25-23, 17-25, 25-23, 22-25, 15-12) win over the Crusaders was one of two victories on the day for CBU, as the Lancers also defeated Cal State Monterey Bay (3-0) earlier to open the Route 92 Showdown in Northern California.
"We took a big step as a team today playing against a tough and unconventional opponent this evening," said CBU Head Coach Branden Higa. "We needed to go through a match like this to learn how to manage our ups and downs and still pull out a win."
In the late match the Lancers and Crusaders split the opening two sets making the third game crucial as it so often is.
CBU held the lead much of the third, but NNU clawed its way back and threatened to steal the set after fighting off a pair of set points with a kill and a block, pulling to within 23-24.
NNU rallied, forcing a fifth set, but CBU again found the points they needed down the stretch to close it out.
With the fifth tied at 11-11, Siko set Faith Steinwedell and O'Brien on consecutive plays, getting kills to go up by two. CBU would ride that advantage to the victory, winning on a bad set by NNU's Michelle Terpstra.
"Malika came up with some really big plays down the stretch," said Higa. "Once we got that two point lead we were able to play point for point and get the win. Jordyn did a great job as well getting us out of some tough situations."
O'Brien had 14 kills, hit .391, had six blocks and served one ace in a breakout match for the first year player. Siko dished out 49 assists and Steinwedell led the team with 15 digs. Ingrid Carmona was her usual dominant self, recording her fourth straight double-double with 22 kills and 11 digs.
"We really took a huge step towards becoming a cohesive team today instead of being just a collection of talented players," said Higa. "We got big contributions from everybody and it showed that they are starting to figure it out and play as a group. When this team plays together they can be very good."
CBU opened the Route 92 Showdown Friday with a swift three-set victory over Cal State Monterey Bay, winning 25-21, 25-14, 25-20.
Carmona had a big opening match for the Lancers, hitting .378 to tally 18 kills in the contest. Carmona was the only player to top 10 kills in the match.
Siko got the start at setter for CBU and averaged 12 assists a set for a total of 36 in the match. Megan Glennie had match-high 18 digs, while Carmona and Siko each added 11.
"Megan's passing and defense really helped us steady up and play two solid matches today," said Higa. "Ingrid is just always solid and dependable. I have really been impressed with her passing as well lately."
As a team the Lancers hit .298 for the match.
CBU moves to 4-1 on the season with the pair of wins. The Lancers have two more matches tomorrow at the Route 92 Showdown, facing San Francisco State at 11:30 a.m. and then tournament host Cal State East Bay at 7 p.m. Click here to follow live stats and results for tomorrow's matches.