Matadors Fall to No. 8 Hawai'i in Straight Sets

March 6, 2010

Final Stats

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Freshman John Baker had a team-high 14 kills but third-ranked Cal State Northridge fell in straight sets 35-33, 31-29, 30-19 to eighth-ranked Hawai'i Saturday afternoon in The Matadome.

The Matadors (13-6, 10-6 MPSF), playing a rare Saturday afternoon contest, hit .341 in the opening set but struggled on offense thereafter. Hawai'i (11-6, 7-5 MPSF), which earned a split in the two-match weekend set, hit .368 in the match and didn't hit below .310 in any of the three sets.

Baker's 14 kills led the Matadors but the freshman hit just .188 with eight errors in 32 attempts. Senior Kevin McKniff also reached double figures with 10 kills (.333) to go with four blocks. Fellow senior Jacek Ratajczak, who knocked down a career-high 30 kills on Friday night, was limited to nine kills while hitting .333. Mike Gaudino also notched nine kills (.273) in the loss.

Northridge led 9-5 in the opening set after McKniff and Gaudino teamed up to block Jonas Umlauft. After Hawai'i came back to the score at 13-13, the Matadors scored nine unanswered points to seemingly put the set out of reach. Baker's kill at 28-27 gave the Matadors set point but the Warriors answered when McKniff's attack was stuffed. Northridge also had set point at 30-29 but Joshua Walker's kill sent Hawai'i on a two-point run giving the Warriors their first set point at 31-30. The Matadors the held off four more set points before kills from Umlauft and Ernie Vidinha turned the set in the Warriors' favir 35-33.

Set two was the exact opposite as it was Hawai'i that jumped out to the early lead only to see the Matadors storm back. Trailing 11-7, Northridge used four straight points to tie the score at 11. Gaudino's ace gave the Matadors their first lead at 18-17 and Northridge also led 20-19 before the Warriors rolled off three straight points to take the lead for good at 22-20. The Matadors managed a pair of tied late (28-28, 29-29) before an Umlauft kill and a Baker hitting error put Hawai'i up two sets to none.

The Warriors scored 12 of the first 17 points in the final set and never looked back. The Hawai;i lead grew to as many as 11 (28-17) before the match ended on a Steven Grgas kill.

Umlauft led Hawai;i with a match-high 17 kills (.314) while Walker chipped in 16 kills (.364) and a match-high three aces.

Cal State Northridge travels to UC Santa Barbara for an MPSF match thirs Wednesday (Mar. 10) before returning home for a non-conference match against Loyola-Chicago on Saturday (Mar. 13).


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