Feb. 5, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - 13th-ranked Cal State Northridge saw its losing streak reach six matches as eighth-ranked Penn State swept the Matadors 25-19, 25-22, 26-24 Saturday night at Rec Hall. Senior Tanner Nua led CSUN for the second straight match with 11 kills.
The Matadors (2-9) come away empty on the two-match trip to the East Coast as Northridge lost a non-conference match to Ohio State on Friday. The Matadors are in the midst of their longest losing streak since the 2001 season when they dropped nine in a row.
With 11 kills, Nua became the first Matador hitter since Jan. 19 at UCLA to reach double figures in kills. The senior from Palmdale capped a solid two matches in Pennsylvania by hitting .400 in 20 swings to go with five digs and a pair of blocks. Freshman Greg Faulkner added seven kills (.500) and fellow freshman Cory Wagner chipped in six kills (.286) and a career-high three blocks.
After starting at outside hitter against Ohio State, junior Matt Stork returned to his familiar setter role and dished out 24 assists as CSUN hit .242 (30-14-66) as a team. But again it was the Matadors' inability to stop their opponents offense as Penn State hit .357 (44-14-84) as a unit.
The Matadors led briefly in the opening set as CSUN took one-point leads at 5-4 and 6-5 on Penn State miscues. A Nua kill gave the Matadors their final lead of the set at 7-6. Three consecutive Nittany Lion points, the last on a Wagner hitting error, gave Penn State a 9-7 cushion. A Nittany Lion hitting error followed by a Wagner kill pulled CSUN even at 9-9. The teams then traded sideouts until 12-12 when Penn State used a Joe Sunder kill and three Sunder aces to break open the set. Trailing 17-12, the Matadors could only get within four points the rest of the way.
After leading early in the second set, Northridge quickly fell behind 9-6 following service errors from Stork and Brandon Lebrock. A kill from Wagner, a Nittany Lion hitting error and a Drew Staker ace pulled the Matadors even at 9-9 but Staker's ensuing service error kept Penn State in front. The NIttany Lions led until back-to-back aces from Stork put the Matadors on top 15-14 forcing Penn State into a timeout. Two straight kills out of the timeout put the Nittany Lions back in front 16-15 forcing the Matadors to spend a timeout.
With the score tied at 21-21, consecutive Staker hitting errors capped a 3-0 Penn State run which put the set out of reach for the Matadors. Nua's kill saved one set point but the Nittany Lions cashed in on a Scott Kegerreis kill to send the Matadors to their 15th set loss in a row.
Penn State claimed the first two points of the third set but back-to-back Nittany Lion hitting errors knotted things at 2-2. From that point on no team led by more than one point until a Nua-Staker block followed by a Wagner kill put the Matadors up 13-11. CSUN also led by two at 16-14 following a Nua ace forcing Penn State to halt the action with a timeout. Sunder's hitting error gave the Matadors their largest lead of the match at 18-15 before the Nittany Lions won three of the next four points to knot the score at 19-19.
Following a Northridge timeout, back-to-back kills from Nua and Lebrock forced Penn State to spend its final timeout trailing 21-19. The Nittany Lions then scored two straight before Nua's kill gave the Matadors their final lead at 22-21. A Lebrock service error followed by a Penn State block put Penn State back in front 23-22 and despite CSUN tying the score at 23-23 and 24-24, the Nittany Lions took the straight set decision with back-to-back kills.
Kegerreis wound up with a match-high 14 kills on .296 hitting while Sunder added 11 kills (.444) and three aces.
Cal State Northridge returns home for a brief one-match homestand next Friday as the Matadors host second-ranked Long Beach State in The Matadome at 7 p.m.
- GO MATADORS -