Jan. 28, 2011
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Facing its sixth consecutive top-five team, No. 13 Cal State Northridge fell in straight sets to second-ranked Stanford 25-19, 27-25, 25-22 in an MPSF match Friday night at The Matadome.
The Matadors (2-6, 1-4 MPSF) struggled on offense for the second straight match as Stanford (5-1, 4-1 MPSF) limited CSUN to a .194 (36-18-93) hitting clip. The Cardinal, who hit .349 (45-15-86) as a team, also out-blocked the Matadors 10.0-5.5 and had a 31-21 edge in digs.
Sophomore Drew Staker and freshman Greg Faulkner each had nine kills to lead CSUN. Staker hit a team-high .533 in 25 swings while Faulkner hit .333 while adding four blocks. Senior Tanner Nua, who had five kills in the first set, wound up with seven for the match to go with five digs. Nua also served an ace, as did Staker and Brandon Lebrock.
"I'm looking at where we're at now versus where we were last week and the week before", said Matador head coach Jeff Campbell. "Tonight we played better in a lot of areas. Our passing settled down, our serving settled down a little bit and was a little more effective than last week."
Stanford led from the opening serve in the first set, leading by as many as three (10-7) in the early stages. Kills by Faulkner and Nua pulled the Matadors even at 11-11 and CSUN managed to tie the score four more times, the last at 15-15 before the Cardinal rolled off three straight points to take an 18-15 lead. Trailing 19-16, a Dillon Auxier kill followed by a triple block from Faulkner, Lebrock and Matt Stork pulled the Matadors within 19-18 but Stanford responded with a Spencer McLachlin kill followed by a pair of Northridge hitting errors to open up a 22-18 cushion. Gus Ellis and Steven Irvin then teamed up to stuff Lebrock on set point.
The second set was the tightest of the match as the Matadors surrendered an early 7-2 lead. A 7-1 Cardinal run, capped by another Ellis-Irvin block, put Stanford back in front 9-8. But back-to-back Stanford hitting errors gave Northridge back the lead at 10-9 and the two teams then traded sideouts until a McLachlin kill pulled the Cardinal even at 16-16. A Brad Lawson kill put Stanford in front 17-16 and the Cardinal would hold the lead until McLachlin's attack found the net tying the score at 24-24. After an Irvin kill, CSUN saved one set point on a solo block from Staker but a Nua hitting error followed by a Lawson kill put Stanford up two sets.
The Matadors again came out quickly in the final set taking an early 5-2 lead following a Nua kill, a Lebrock ace and a Lawson error. With Northridge hanging on to a 9-7 lead, the Cardinal tallied four straight points to take the lead for good at 11-9. A 4-1 run boosted the lead to as many five (15-10) following an Irvin-Eric Mochalski block. A kill by Faulkner and a Stanford hitting error pulled the Matadors within 24-22 late but an Irvin kill ended any Matador hopes.
"Overall, I would say we improved from last week but it's just not enough to beat a team like Stanford," added Campbell. "Stanford played very well and it's tough to beat a team like that even when we're at our best."
McLachlin wound up leading Stanford with a match-high 15 kills (.520) while Lawson added 14 kills (.286) and six digs. Cardinal libero Erik Shoji had a match-high 10 digs in the win.
Cal State Northridge wraps up its three-match homestand Saturday against the Pacific Tigers. First serve at The Matadome is scheduled for 7 p.m
- GO MATADORS -