LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Cal State Northridge men's volleyball concluded its offseason training last weekend (Nov. 22-23) as the Matadors played three matches at the UCLA SAC Tournament.
CSUN opened with a four-set loss to UC Santa Barbara (16-25, 25-22, 25-18, 25-23) on Friday despite a team-high 12 kills from sophomore Sam Holt.
The Matadors then got an early start on Saturday taking on the host Bruins at 9 a.m. According to Head Coach Jeff Campbell, CSUN played some of their best volleyball of the offseason in Saturday's two matches, taking UCLA to five (25-23, 25-22, 19-25, 20-25, 19-21) before defeating USC in five (25-20, 20-25, 25-23, 22-25, 15-12).
"What was nice about the weekend was that we played normal three out of five matches which is a much better evaluation of where we are as a team," said Campbell. "We played hard the entire time and played really well at times. We were right there with UCLA and we good against a very good USC team."
Redshirt freshman Damani Lenore overcame a rough match against UCSB on Friday with a team-high 16 kills against UCLA on Saturday morning. As was the case against the Gauchos, Holt was effective with 15 kills on 33 swings to hit .242. Junior Kyle Stevenson also reached double figures in kills with 10 to go with 13 digs while junior Greg Faulkner added six kills and seven blocks.
In their final match before opening the 2014 season in January, the Matadors outlasted the Trojans behind 21 kills on .419 hitting from redshirt freshman Jakub Ciesla. Holt added 11 kills (.308) while Faulkner chipped in nine kills (.520) and six blocks. Stevenson also contributed eight kills (.400) and eight digs for CSUN which hit a solid .398 as a team.
"We played high level volleyball and it was nice to end on a positive note heading into the break," added Campbell. "Overall I was encouraged and we're getting better and better."
The Matadors will open the 2014 season Jan. 3 at the UCSB Asics Invitational.
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