Matadors Fall to Top-Ranked USC in MPSF Quarterfinals

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Cal State Northridge saw its 2012 season come to an end at the hands of top-ranked USC as the top-seeded Trojans swept the No. 8-seeded Matadors 25-13, 25-15, 25-18 in an MPSF Tournament Quarterfinal match Saturday at the Galen Center.

Northridge concludes its season with an overall record of 12-18, the Matadors finished eighth in the MPSF at 8-14. USC (23-4) runs its win streak to 18 straight and advances to the semifinals of the conference tournament next week.

Northridge had a tough time getting its offense in gear after hitting .247 as a team against the Trojans at The Matadome last week. The Matadors were limited to .012 hitting on Saturday putting down just 25 kills while committing 24 errors in 82 attacks, Conversely, the Trojans continued to roll offensively hitting .424 on 66 swings.

Brandon Lebrock and Julius Hoefer both had six kills to lead Northridge but Lebrock hit -.222 and Hoefer hit .000. Lebrock did have a pair of solo blocks to go with two digs. John Baker came off the bench to add four kills (.375) while the Matador middle duo of Drew Staker and Jared Moore combined for six kills in eight swings (.625). Moore also had one of Northridge's two aces in the match.

"Our issue tonight was we didn't sideout," said head coach Jeff Campbell. "We didn't pass very well and when we did get a good pass we didn't kill the ball. When you go into playoffs you need your big guns to kill balls and for the most part we didn't do that tonight. I thought we did a good job of scoring points when we were serving but we struggled in siding out, it was that simple."

Tony Ciarelli, the MPSF Player of the Year, lived up to his billing pounding a match-high 12 kills while hitting .625 to go with six aces. Steven Mochalski added nine kills for USC which wound up out-blocking Northridge 10.0-5.0 and out-digging the Matadors 22-16.

With the Trojans holding a 12-9 lead in the opening frame, Ciarelli served four consecutive aces to give USC a 16-9 edge and the Trojans won going away while hitting .556 to the Matadors' .071. The second set was tied at 12-12 before USC scored six unanswered points with Ciarelli at the service line (he had a pair of aces in that span) and the Matadors couldn't stay close late falling 25-15. The Trojans jumped out to an early 8-4 lead in the final set, before Northridge closed to within 17-15 midway through. But USC engineered a five-point to regain control and closed out the match with the 25-18 victory.