HONOLULU, Hawai'i - Behind 15 kills from John Baker and eight kills and seven blocks from Drew Staker, eighth-ranked Cal State Northridge did something they hadn't done in 22 years, win two matches in the same season in Hawai'i.
"I can't remember the last time we won twice here," said Matador head coach Jeff Campbell. "It was a little deflating to lose the second set but we knew it was going to be a long match, so we just refocused. We knew that if we continued to serve well and put pressure on them we'd be OK. It was a really good win tonight and two great road wins for us."
The two road wins came at a great time for the Matadors who opened a road-heavy second half of the MPSF season with a 3-1 win over the Warriors on Friday night. Friday's win was CSUN's first inside the Stan Sheriff Center since 2003 and with tonight's 25-22, 24-26, 25-19, 25-15 win, the Matadors swept the season series in Hawaii for the first time since winning 3-0 and 3-0 in 1991.
CSUN (9-6, 7-6 MPSF), which got 36 combined kills from Baker and Brandon Lebrock in Friday's win, spread the offense around on Sunday as Baker had a co-match high 15 kills (.216). Staker added eight kills (.583), seven blocks and a season-high two aces. Kyle Stevenson came off the bench to also put down eight kills in 14 swings with just one error to hit .500. Jared Moore chipped in seven kills (.545) and Lebrock had six despite hitting .036 in 28 attacks.
The Matadors posted a sizable 15.0-9.5 edge in blocking while out-hitting Hawai'i .312 (49-15-109) to .165 (49-29-121).
CSUN scored six of the first seven points in set one but Hawai'i engineered a 9-2 run, highlighted by six straight points to take a 10-8 lead. The Warriors opened up a 19-15 lead but this time it was the Matadors that answered with a run. A 9-3 CSUN run gave the Matadors set point at 24-22 and Northridge cashed in on a Stevenson kill.
The Matadors held leads of 17-12 and 20-14 in set two before the Warriors mounted a late run to pull within 21-20. Looking to take a two-set lead, Baker's kill gave CSUN set point at 24-23 but Hawai'i got a JP Marks kill, a Staker hitting error and another Marks kill to pull out the improbable win.
The Matadors led 8-3 to open the third set fueled by three Warrior hitting errors. UH closed to within one three times but the Matadors opened their lead to 22-16. The Warriors committed nine hitting errors while dropped the set 25-19.
The Matadors scored five straight to open up an 11-6 lead in the final frame. Later in the set, CSUN strung together another five-point run, which included three UH hitting errors, for its largest lead at 20-11.
Sinisa Zarkovic led the Warriors (5-12, 4-10 MPSF) with 15 kills while Brook Sedore added 13 and Marks chipped in seven to go with eight digs and three aces.
Cal State Northridge returns home for one match next week as the Matadors host UC San Diego on Friday, Mar. 8 at 7 p.m.
- GOMATADORS.COM -