SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Cal State Northridge officially opened the 2014 season Saturday and the 14th-ranked Matadors came out on the short end of a 3-1 decision to unranked Pacific at the UCSB Asics Invitational.
CSUN (0-1) looked to bounce back after dropping a series of exhibition matches on Friday but the Tigers (1-0) claimed the 26-24, 25-27, 25-19, 25-16 non-conference victory.
As was the case for much of the day Friday, the Matadors struggled offensively as CSUN wound up hitting .133 (48-31-128) as a team. Redshirt freshman Jakub Ciesla put down a team-high 12 kills but hit .077 on 39 swings. Junior Kyle Stevenson added eight kills (.040), seven digs and four blocks while Greg Faulkner (.600), Brian O'Gorman (.333) and Sam Holt (.000) each chipped in six kills with O'Gorman also recording a team-high seven blocks.
Junior setter Travis Magorien handed out 41 assists while also serving half of CSUN's four aces to go with five digs and three blocks.
It was a quick turnaround for a young Matador team who arrived home late Friday night and had an early wake up call on Saturday morning.
"We were a little bit off today," said CSUN Head Coach Jeff Campbell. "But it's a learning experience for our young guys, we were encouraged about how are freshmen played and we'll be ready to go on Wednesday."
After splitting the opening sets in tight fashion, the Tigers took the final two sets against a largely inexperienced Matador squad. In the final set which Pacific won 25-16, CSUN's lineup consisted of two juniors, a redshirt sophomore, two redshirt freshmen and a pair of true freshmen.
Andrew Freiha and Justin Beskeen, a pair of true freshman, made their Matador debuts while Ciesla and libero Bradley Sakaida are both in their first season on the active roster. Sakaida matched Stevenson with a team-high seven digs in Saturday's loss.
Northridge opens the MPSF slate on Wednesday as the Matadors host Cal Baptist at 7 p.m.
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