Feb. 7, 2009
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Senior Eric Vance posted a match-high 14 kills and junior Mike Gaudino added 13 kills as fourth-ranked Cal State Northridge stifled No.15 UC San Diego, 30-20, 30-23, 30-21 in an MPSF match Saturday at The Matadome.
With the win, the Matadors post their third consecutive home sweep and improve to 8-2 overall and 5-2 in the MPSF. The loss drops the Tritons to 4-6 overall and 2-5 in conference play.
Northridge hit .446 (48-11-83) as a team and limited UCSD to 27 kills in 70 swings, an .086 hitting clip. Vance, who had just one kill in three swings in the first set, pounded 13 over the final two sets and hit a solid .520 in 25 attacks. The senior All-American also served three of the Matadors' six aces. Gaudino also hit well as he had 13 kills and four errors in 21 swings to hit .429. Gaudino also had a team-high five digs while Vance blocked a career-high seven balls (one solo). Tanner Nua added eight kills (.222) and Jacek Ratajczak had seven kills in eight attacks (.875). Kevin McKniff led a strong Matador blocking effort with a team-high eight blocks. As a team, the Matadors posted a season-high 14.5 total blocks (5 solo, 19 assists).
The Tritons scored the first point of the match on a Gaudino service error before Northridge claimed five of the next six points to open up a 5-2 lead. A Nua service error briefly pulled UCSD within two at 5-3 but four straight Matador points opened up a 9-3 cushion. Northridge also led by six at 13-7 before the Tritons outscored the Matadors 4-1 over the next five points to cut the lead to 14-11. That was as close as UCSD would get as Northridge opened up its biggest lead at 25-15 following a Vance kill. McKniff and Matt Stork teamed up to block Will Ehrman on set point as the Matadors won 30-20. Stork wound up with a career-best five blocks, including two solo, in the match.
Looking to build on the momentum of the first set, the Matadors fell behind 9-6 and were forced to call timeout. The Tritons continued to lead until a Frank Fritsch hitting error pulled Northridge even at 17-17. An ensuing 3-0 Matador run, highlighted by a triple block by Ratajczak, McKniff and Nua, put Northridge in front to stay 20-17. UCSD got within two at 20-18, 21-19 and 22-20 before a pair of Triton miscues gave the Matadors a 24-20 lead. With Northridge up 26-23, a pair of Vance kills along with a McKniff kill and another triple block gave the Matadors set two 30-23.
The final set saw Northridge jump out to a 16-9 lead forcing UCSD into a timeout. The Matador lead swelled to nine at 19-10 following a Vance kill and Northridge was not threatened the rest of the way. Vance's 14th and final kill on match point gave the Matadors the 3-0 win.
Joel Davidson led the Tritons with eight kills (.400) off the bench while Adrian Guthals (.300) and Jason Spangler (.083) each chipped in five kills.
Cal State Northridge returns to action next Friday, Feb. 13 as the Matadors take a break from MPSF action to host Cal Baptist in a non-conference match at 7 p.m.
- GO MATADORS -