Feb. 25, 2011
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Senior Tanner Nua knocked down a match-high 13 kills but Cal State Northridge fell at home for the fifth time in six matches as ninth-ranked Pepperdine swept the Matadors 25-21, 25-22, 25-21 Friday at The Matadome.
Northridge (4-12, 3-8 MPSF), which had lost a total of six home matches in the last three seasons combined, continued to struggle on The Matadome floor where the Matadors have now been swept five times. Pepperdine improved to 6-7 overall and moved a game in front of Northridge with a 4-7 MPSF slate.
Nua, who nearly matched his season-high with 40 swings, had a match-high 13 kills but was held to a .150 hitting clip. The senior also had one of CSUN's three aces and had a hand in three blocks. Sophomore Dillon Auxier was also effective for the Matadors as he put down eight kills while hitting .333 in 15 attacks. Auxier also contributed a pair of blocks including his third solo stuff of the season.
The Matador middle duo of Drew Staker and Greg Faulkner struggled on Friday after combining for 10 kills in 24 swings while committing six errors to hit .167. Northridge's season-long hitting woes continued as the Matadors hit .153 with 39 kills and 24 errors in 98 swings. Pepperdine wound up hitting an efficient .301 (36-14-73) after hitting a match-high .348 in the third and final set.
"We fought hard and gave a good effort but we just couldn't execute," said assistant coach Theo Edwards who filled in for head coach Jeff Campbell who missed his second straight match due to illness. "We had 36 errors, 24 hitting and 12 serving, and you just can't win games making that many mistakes."
The Matadors dug themselves a huge hole early in the opening set as Pepperdine scored the first seven points of the match. CSUN had trouble with Kasey Crider's serving and committed a pair hitting errors which forced the Matadors to play catch-up the remainder of the set. The Matadors gradually whittled away at the Waves' lead pulling to within four at 12-8 and again at 14-10 following a co-block from Staker and Auxier.
Pepperdine eventually built its lead back to eight at 21-13 before CSUN put together a 7-2 run to creep within 23-20 after Maurice Torres' attack went wide. Nua had a pair of kills and a block for the Matadors during the run. Staker's kill kept the Matadors within three at 24-21 before Torres ended the frame with a kill.
Looking to even the match, Northridge used a Crider setting error followed by a Nua ace to take an early 6-4 lead in set two. But the Waves quickly tied things at 6-6 and the two teams traded sideouts until 10-10 when a Matt Pollock-Cory Riecks block and a Torres ace gave Pepperdine the lead for good at 12-10. The Matadors were able to close to within one five times and eventually drew even at 21-21 following a Torres hitting error. But Staker's service error out of a Pepperdine timeout propelled the Waves on a late 3-0 run which erased all doubt.
Set three was similar to the second as the teams each led but neither by more than three until the Waves scored three straight to break open a tight 13-12 lead. The Matadors however would not go away and battled back behind three straight kills from Brandon Lebrock to even the score for the final time at 18-18. CSUN could never take back the lead and after Nua's kill pulled the Matadors within one at 22-21, a Tyler Jaynes kill and consecutive Matador hitting errors sent the Matadors to the straight set loss.
Torres led Pepperdine with 10 kills (.182) and two aces while Beau Vandeweghe added nine kills (.500) and Riecks chipped in eight (.333).
Cal State Northridge wraps up its three-match homestand next Wednesday, Mar. 2 as the Matadors host UCLA at 7 p.m.
- GO MATADORS -