Matador Road Struggles Continue in Straight Set Loss at Eighth-Ranked UC Irvine

Feb. 18, 2011

Final Stats

IRVINE, Calif. - Cal State Northridge had trouble getting its offense on track as the Matadors dropped a straight set decision (25-21, 25-17, 25-17) at eighth-ranked UC Irvine in an MPSF match Friday at the Bren Center.

The Matadors (3-10, 2-6 MPSF) were led by Dillon Auxier's seven kills as the sophomore hit .353 to go with four digs and two blocks. Fellow sophomore Drew Staker added six kills (.556) but CSUN wound up hitting just .200 (28-13-75) as a team. Matt Stork dished out 25 assists and had a team-high eight digs while libero Charlie Condron had a season-high six digs.

UC Irvine (8-8, 5-5 MPSF), which hit .419 (46-10-86) as a group, had seven aces to the Matadors' one. Northridge did post a slim 7.5-7.0 edge in blocks. The loss was also the Matadors fourth consecutive setback on the road where they are now 2-7.

The Matadors have now hit .253 or less in eight consecutive matches and CSUN's team hitting percentage this season dropped to .225.

"I thought Irvine played very well tonight," said head coach Jeff Campbell. "We battled at times but we made some real freshman-type mistakes and kind of shot ourselves in the foot at times."

After the Matadors held a pair of one-point leads early in the opening set, three straight blocks on Lebrock gave UC Irvine its biggest lead at 8-3. The Anteaters also led by five at 9-4 before a triple block from Nua, Lebrock and Staker propelled the Matadors on a 4-0 run, which was capped by a Stork ace, pulling CSUN within 9-8. Trailing 13-10, the Matadors again engineered a 4-0 run to take the lead 14-13 following a Stork-Faulkner block.

A UCI service error kept CSUN in front 15-14, before the Anteaters used an Auxier hitting error and a Scott Kevorken ace to take back the lead for good 16-15. The Matadors also pulled within one at 17-16 following a Lebrock kill but UCI took control late opening up a 24-19 lead. Back-to-back Auxier kills saved two set points before Nua's attack went long giving the Anteaters the 25-21 win.

In set two, Stork's kill on a Faulkner assist gave the Matadors a two-point lead at 8-6. Carson Clark's hitting error opened up a CSUN's biggest lead at 12-9 before the Anteaters rolled off three straight points forcing the Matadors to spend their first timeout. Kevorkan then stuffed Faulkner on the ensuing point giving UCI its first lead since 4-3.

With the score knotted at 13-13, three consecutive Anteater kills gave UCI a three-point cushion at 16-13. Auxier's kill out of a CSUN timeout kept the Matadors within striking distance at 16-14 but UCI again pulled away late as Jordan DuFault's ace put the Anteaters in front 22-16. Kevorkan and Cory Yoder's co-block on set point put UCI two sets up with the 25-17 win.

The third and final set was close until the Anteaters boosted a slim 10-9 lead to 16-10 following a four-point run. The Matadors could only get within five the rest of the way as UCI closed out the sweep following Nua's service error on match point.

Clark led UCI with a match-high 15 kills (.500) while DuFault added 10 kills hitting .364.

"I feel like we got better from last week to this week," added Campbell. "But we play a very good UC San Diego team tomorrow and we're going to have to play well in order to win."

Cal State Northridge wraps up its season-opening stretch of 10 road matches in its first 14 contests when the Matadors travel to La Jolla to take on No. 12 UC San Diego on Saturday at 7 p.m.