Matadors Win Final Two Sets to Down No. 8 Long Beach State in Five

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Julius Hoefer and Matt Stork combined for 38 kills as 11th-ranked Cal State Northridge overcame a 2-1 set deficit to knock off eighth-ranked Long Beach State 15-25, 25-20, 22-25, 25-14, 15-11 Friday in an MPSF match in The Matadome.

With the win, the Matadors (2-4, 1-2 MPSF) snap a two-match skid and claim their 2012 home opener.

Hoefer, a freshman opposite, overcame a slow start to put down a match-high 21 kills in 42 attacks (.286). The 21 kills matches Hoefer's season-high and the freshman also had three aces, seven digs and seven blocks (one solo). Stork added 17 kills in 42 swings (.293) and also notched five digs and one ace. Junior middle Jared Moore came off the bench to provide a spark for the second straight match as he chipped in eight kills in 11 swings with just one error to hit .636. Moore also posted five block assists as the Matadors out-blocked the 49ers 14.5-9.0.

Freshman setter Travis Magorien, starting for just the second time this season, dished out 50 assists as Northridge hit .255 (60-25-137) as a team. Magorien also had eight digs and three blocks while libero Sina Aghassy made the most of his first collegiate start with 19 digs, the most by a Matador libero since Kaleo Baxter had 19 at Stanford in 2011.

"It was tough being down two games to one to a good Long Beach team," said head coach Jeff Campbell. "But we made some strategic adjustments with our serving and got much better and affected them a little bit with our float serve. The guys always believed we could win and we showed a lot of heart and fight and I was really proud of them for that."

A rough hitting opening set (.088) left the Matadors facing a 13-11 defecit when the 49ers took complete command with a 5-0 run. The Long Beach lead grew to as many as eight (20-12) and Northridge would only get within seven the rest of the set.

The 49ers led for a good portion of set two as well as the Beach led 13-12 following a Jim Baughman kill. But a Marty Lorenz kill and a 49er hitting error put Northridge in front for the first time (14-13 and the Matadors, who hit .417 in the frame, would not trail again. Holding a slim 20-19 lead, the Matadors used a Hoefer ace, a triple block and a pair of Long Beach hitting errors to pull away late.

In the third set, the 49ers used a 5-1 run to turn a 15-13 defecit into an 18-16 capped by Stork's attack error. A Ryan Meehan kill kept the Beach up by three at 20-17 and Long Beach hit a match-high .423 to win going away taking a two sets to one lead.

The fourth set was over quickly as the Matadors strung together five consecutive kills to break open a tight 8-6 game. A Kyle Stevenson put-away gave Northridge its biggest lead at 18-7 before Long Beach crept back within 19-12 when Hoefer's attempt was stuffed by Meehan and Taylor Crabb. The Matadors then sent the match to a fifth set when Lorenz aced the 49ers on set point.

Northridge never trailed in the fifth and deciding set despite the 49ers tying the score four times. After the Matadors jumped out to an early 5-3 lead, Long Beach rallied back to knot the score 7-7 capped by a Crabb kill. Stork then contributed a kill and an ace while Moore and Hoefer teamed up to stuff Meehan and the Matadors had another three-point cushion at 10-7. Consecutive Baughman kills pulled Long Beach within 10-9 but another Hoefer kill and a pair of Lorenz blocks gave Northridge the margin it needed in pulling out the set 15-11.

Baughman and Crabb led a trio of 49er hitters in double figures with 12 kills. Brad Hemmerling added 11 kills and 11 digs while Long Beach setter Connor Olbright posted 42 assists and eight digs.

Cal State Northridge heads back out on the road next Wednesday, Jan. 25 as the Matadors travel to Westwood to take on the UCLA Bruins at 7 p.m.