March 4, 2011

Matadors Drop Straight Set Decision at No. 4 UC Santa Barbara

March 4, 2011

Final Stats

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SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Sophomores Drew Staker and Dillon Auxier each had a team-high nine kills but Cal State Northridge fell in straight sets (25-22, 25-23, 25-15) at fourth-ranked UC Santa Barbara in an MPSF match Friday at Rob Gym.

Staker, who hit .438 in 16 swings, and Auxier (.368) each had a team-high nine kills with Auxier also adding three digs and matching his career-high with four blocks which included three solo stuffs. Freshman Brandon Lebrock added five kills, one ace, four digs a a pair of blocks. CSUN (.193) wound up hitting under .200 as a team for the eighth time in 18 matches this season.

UC Santa Barbara (11-8, 9-7 MPSF), which hit .347 as a team, had six aces to the Matadors' two. The Gauchos also had an advantage in digs (29-18) and blocks (10.0-7.0).

"We're still not playing very well, we're not siding-out and we only hit .190 for the match," said Matador head coach Jeff Campbell. "We are inexperienced but at some point our young guys have to figure out a way to win. Unfortunately again tonight we didn't figure it out. We were right there in games one and two but made some critical mistakes and couldn't capitalize."

In the opening set the two teams traded sideouts until 3-3 when UCSB tallied three straight to open up a 6-3 cushion. A Lebrock hitting error gave the Gauchos a 9-4 lead before the Matadors took three of the next four points to pull within 10-7 following a Lebrock ace. CSUN cut the lead to one on two different occasions and eventually drew even at 17-17 on a Jared Moore kill.

The Gauchos then scored four straight points to give them the margin they needed. A Lebrock kill and an Auxier solo block temporarily pulled the Matadors within one at 22-21 but CSUN could get no closer as Staker's service error on set point gave UCSB the set 25-22. The Matadors, who were out-hit by Gauchos .286-.111, have now gone 11 straight matches without winning an opening set.

UCSB scored the first three points of set two and then led 6-4 before a Gaucho hitting error and a Lebrock-Staker block pulled CSUN even at 6-6. The score was also tied at 9-9 when Auxier put away a UCSB overpass and the Matadors had their first lead of the match at 10-9. The teams then traded sideouts until the Gauchos scored consecutive points to take back the lead 14-13.

After three sideouts, consecutive kills by John Baker and Lebrock gave CSUN its largest lead of the set 17-15 forcing the Gauchos to spend their first timeout. UCSB then rallied for two points out of the timeout before kills from Staker and Auxier put the Matadors back in front 19-17. With the score tied 22-22, a Jeff Menzel ace followed by a Marty Lorenz hitting error gave the Gauchos set point at 24-22. Menzel's service error saved one set point before Cullen Irons and Dylan Davis teamed-up to stuff Lebrock on set point. The Matadors hit a solid .362 in set two to up their percentage in the match to .231.

Neither team led by more than two in the third set until a Menzel ace gave UCSB a 7-4 cushion. Back-to back Matador hitting errors put CSUN in a 10-5 hole. The Gaucho lead swelled to as many as seven at 15-8 before a UCSB service error and a Lorenz-Stork co-block temporarily cut the lead to 15-10. The Gauchos then pulled away down the stretch to sweep the season series from the Matadors for the first time since 2002.

Menzel led UCSB with a match-high 16 kills (.393) while Scott Slaughter added six kills (.300) and five blocks.

Cal State Northridge will return to action next Wednesday, Mar. 9 as the Matadors host Loyola-Chicago in a non-conference match at 7 p.m.

- GO MATADORS -

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