Jan. 8, 2011
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Cal State Northridge came into the season-opening UCSB Gaucho Invitational as the two-time defending champions but came away with a sixth-place finish after falling to No. 2 UC Irvine 25-17, 18-25, 25-20, 25-20 Saturday at Rob Gym.
The Matadors wound up 1-2 in the tournament falling to 10th-ranked UC Santa Barbara (3-0) and defeating UC San Diego (3-1) on Friday before losing to No. 2 UC Irvine (3-1) in the Consolation championship this afternoon.
Brandon Lebrock, a true freshman from Northridge, had the best match of his young career on Saturday with 12 kills in 23 swings (.391). Lebrock also added five digs, one ace and one block. Sophomore Drew Staker added nine kills (.636) and redshirt freshman Marty Lorenz chipped in eight kills (.400) and three blocks. Sophomore John Baker came off the bench for Northridge to record three kills, six digs and two blocks while serving a match-high three aces.
The match also featured the first collegiate matchup of the Stork brothers as setters as Matt had 33 assists for the Matadors and Daniel had 44 for UC Irvine.
After struggling to hit .167 through the first two games, the Matadors wound up hitting .250 (39-17-88) for the match. UCI, however, hit a solid .409 (49-11-93) as a team including .636 in game three's 25-20 win.
The two teams played even for the majority of the opening game as neither team led by more than two points until a Kevin Carroll ace gave the Anteaters a 15-12 lead. A pair of UCI miscues cut the lead to 16-14 before three straight Anteater points boosted the lead back to five at 19-14. Lebrock's service error on game point sent UCI to the 25-17 win.
After leading early in the second game, the Matadors quickly fell behind 7-3 following an Anteater block. The UCI lead swelled to five at 15-10 after a Kevin Wynne kill. The Anteaters led 16-12 before the Matadors put together their best scoring run of the tournament. Lebrock's kill propelled CSUN on an 11-0 run which wiped out the UCI lead and gave the Matadors a 23-16 cushion. Baker's impressive serving, which included a pair aces, was crucial during the scoring run. Leading 24-18, Danny Rodrick's ace evened the match.
Game three was close until a 3-0 UCI run boosted the Anteater lead to 15-11 forcing a CSUN timeout. A Baker overpass resulted in a Dan McConnell kill that gave the Anteaters their largest lead at 20-14. The Matadors cut the lead to four five times down the stretch but could get no closer as UCI claimed the game 25-20.
The Anteaters won the first five points of the final set and never looked back. A Lebrock kill pulled CSUN within two at 7-5 but the Matadors could not get within three the remainder of the game as a late Northridge run temporarily cut the lead to 24-20 in the final stages.
Cory Yoder led the Anteaters with a match-high 14 kills (.414) while Carroll added 13 (.455) and Jeremy Dejino chipped in 10 (.250).
Cal State Northridge opens MPSF play Wednesday as the Matadors travel to top-ranked USC. First serve at the Galen Center is set for 7 p.m.
- GO MATADORS -