NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Led by senior outside hitter Matt Stork, 12th-ranked Cal State Northridge continued its impressive hitting as the Matadors blanked the 15th-ranked Loyola Ramblers, 25-18, 25-18, 25-20 in a non-conference match Friday at The Matadome.
Northridge (8-10), which hit .462 in a straight set win over Ball State on Wednesday, nearly matched that figure as the Matadors hit .452 as a team in defeating Loyola for the second time this season.
Stork was a one-man wrecking crew for the Matadors putting down 20 of the team's 44 kills in the match. The senior from Topanga, Calif., hit .438 in 38 attacks while also serving two of Northridge's three aces. Junior opposite John Baker also hit well for the second consecutive match as he added seven kills in 16 swings without an error (.438) to go with six digs and a pair of blocks.
"Matt is playing really well right now and has been playing well for the past two or three weeks," said head coach Jeff Campbell. " I know Matt is happy with his effort and with his execution on the court."
Drew Staker (.600) and Brandon Lebrock (.357) each chipped in six kills while Staker also posted five blocks with three of those solo stuffs. Danny Rodrick set the Matadors to a .452 hitting clip registering 39 assists and seven digs and libero Charlie Condron added nine digs of his own.
Northridge trailed only briefly in the opening set falling behind 8-7 and by as many as two at 10-8. Consecutive kills from Jared Moore and Lebrock pulled the Matadors even at 10 and propelled Northrdge on an 8-2 run that proved to be the difference in the set. The Ramblers battled back to within four (22-18) late before a pair of Stork kills and a Staker block sent the Matadors to the 25-18 win.
The Matadors held a slim 13-12 lead in set two before kills from Stork, Rodrick and a Rodrick-Moore block opened up a 17-12 Northridge lead. The Matadors would not look back from that point on taking the second set by the identical 25-18 score.
Set three featured nine ties and a trio of lead changes before the Matadors broke open a 16-16 tie with back-to-back Stork kills. Following a Ramblers timeout, Northridge claimed two of the next three points to open up a 20-17 cushion. After Loyola closed to within 23-20 in the latter stages, a pair of Rambler miscues sent the Matadors to the 25-20 win and the 3-0 victory.
"Loyola served pretty well and we did a good job of handling their tougher serves which really kept us in it," said Campbell. "I'm very pleased with our hitting and we have a lot of momentum right now and hopefully we can keep it going against Harvard tomorrow."
Dainis Berzins (.467), Cody Caldwell (.087) and Mike Bunting (.095) each had seven kills to lead Loyola which also got a match-high 16 digs from libero Peter Jasaitis.
Cal State Northridge continues its nine-match homestand Saturday as the Matadors close out the non-conference triple-header against Harvard at 7 p.m.
- GO MATADORS -