Stork, Baker Power Matadors Past Ball State 25-17, 25-18, 25-20

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Senior Matt Stork and junior John Baker combined for 31 kills while hitting .568 as 12th-ranked Cal State Northridge swept visiting Ball State 25-17, 25-18, 25-20 in a non-conference match Wednesday at The Matadome.

The Matadors (7-10), winners of three of their last four matches, used a solid team hitting performance of .462 to take care of the Cardinals. Northridge committed just three hitting errors over the first two sets and wound up with just six in the match to notch its fifth win in seven home matches this season.

Stork finished the night with a match-high 16 kills with just one error in 22 swings to hit a season-high .682. The senior outside also posted five digs, three blocks and served one of the Matadors' two aces. Baker added 15 kills in 29 attacks, also committing just one error, to hit .483 with four blocks and three digs.

Brandon Lebrock chipped in nine kills (.333) and six digs and middle Jared Moore added five kills (.500) and six blocks. In leading the Matadors to an impressive hitting clip, setter Danny Rodrick registered 39 assists and also had a team-high eight digs.

"We played steady and passed well tonight," said head coach Jeff Campbell. "Overall we hit very well as a team which is important for us, we need to pass and hit well. We were able to sideout at a high level tonight which we haven't done as well in league matches."

All three sets followed roughly the same pattern as each team led in the early going before the Matadors pulled away at the midpoint. The opening set was tied 10-10 when Northridge scored five unanswered points to open up a 15-10 cushion. A Larry Wrather kill temporarily pulled Ball State within three at 16-13 but an ensuing 4-0 Matador run erased all doubt as Northridge won set one 25-17.

In set two, the Matadors held a slim 13-12 lead after Drew Staker's serve found the net. A Baker kill on the next point propelled Northridge on a 3-0 run giving the Matadors a 16-13 advantage. The Northridge lead was at least three the rest of the way as the Matadors pulled away late for the 25-18 win.

In the third and final set it was a 4-0 Matador run at 12-12 that proved to be the difference as kills from Stork and Moore capped the run. The Cardinals then clawed back to within 18-16 after Rodrick's set failed to find its target but another Northridge run, this time 3-0 gave the Matadors the margin they needed to sweep the match.

Greg Herceg led Ball State (10-6) with 13 kills (.333) while Wrater added seven kills and six digs but hit just .036. Cardinals setter Graham McIlvaine handed out 30 assists to go with seven digs in the loss.

Cal State Northridge continues its nine-match homestand Friday as the Matadors host No. 15 Loyola-Chicago in a non-conference match at 7 p.m.