NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - A common characteristic among young and inexperienced teams is the inability to win close matches and the tendency to wilt under pressure. Although the 2012 edition of Cal State Northridge men's volleyball is young and largely inexperienced, the Matadors scratched out their third five-set win of the season Friday against the visiting 15th-ranked Pacific Tigers.
The Matadors (4-6, 2-4 MPSF) kept their perfect home record intact at 3-0 with each win coming in five-set fashion. Against the Tigers on Friday, Northridge was forced to battle back from a 2-1 set deficit to pull out the win.
Freshman opposite Julius Hoefer overcame a slow start to put down a team-high 15 kills (.226) to go with five blocks (one solo) and three digs. Brandon Lebrock added season-highs of 13 kills (.269) and nine digs and Jared Moore chipped in 10 kills (.444) and four blocks.
The Matadors also got six kills (.308) and a career-high 10 blocks (two solo) from Drew Staker while setter Filip Tomicic matched his season-high with 54 assists. Cory Wagner came on for an ineffective Matt Stork to post an important seven kills in 11 swings (.545) as Northridge overcame a sluggish start offensively to hit .214 (62-32-140) for the match.
The Matadors dropped the first and third sets by the same 25-21 score while winning set two 25-20. Needing a win in the fourth set to force a fifth and deciding set, Northridge hit a match-high .640 to claim the frame 25-18.
The Matadors jumped out to a 7-4 lead early in the fifth set following a Pacific hitting error. A Hoefer kill gave Northridge another three-point cushion (8-5) as the two teams switched sides. Hoefer then stuffed a Tiger attack and the Matadors had their largest lead to that point at 9-5. After a Wagner hitting error, Northridge again took advantage of a Pacific hitting miscue to retain its four-point lead at 10-6.
A Florian Gornik kill pulled the Tigers within three at 10-7 before a Moore kill kept the Matadors advantage at four (11-7). Pacific then engineered a 6-1 run, capped by back-to-back blocks, to take a 13-12 lead. Another Hoefer kill pulled Northridge even before a Tomicic-Staker block put the Matadors on the verge of the match when Staker put up a solo block sending the Matadors to the thrilling 15-13 victory.
Gornik led Pacific with a match-high 21 kills (.350) while Adam Troy added nine kills (.000) and six blocks and Sean Daley chipped in six kills and eight blocks.
Cal State Northridge wraps up its brief two-match homestand Saturday as the Matadors host fourth-ranked Stanford at 7:30 p.m.
- GO MATADORS -