Matadors Fall to No. 7 Stanford; Earn a Split in Northern California

STANFORD, Calif. - 13th-ranked Cal State Northridge fell to seventh-ranked Stanford in straight sets (25-21, 25-18, 25-19) Saturday night at Maples Pavilion but the Matadors come home with an important split on the two-match trip.

CSUN (3-4, 2-3 MPSF) got the trip off to a good start with a five-set win at Pacific on Friday but came up empty in three sets against the No. 7 Cardinal who improved to 5-4 overall and 2-4 in the MPSF. The Matadors will now head home where they will play six of their next eight matches beginning Friday against Hawai'i.

As was the case against Pacific, Damani Lenore and Andrew Freiha provided much of the Matador offense as Lenore connected for a team-high 11 kills (.258) while Freiha and Greg Faulkner each put down seven kills. Faulkner hit .286 on a season-high 14 attacks while Freiha hit .235 on 17 swings.

Junior Travis Magorien posted 24 assists, seven digs and one solo block while Sam Holt served two of CSUN's three aces in the loss. One night after posting a season-high 12 digs, Bradley Sakaida had a match-high 13 against Stanford as the Matadors had 32 team digs to 29 for the Cardinal.

Stanford posted a sizable advantage in hitting percentage as the Cardinal hit .344 (44-12-93) to .209 (31-13-86) for the Matadors. One key factor in the match was Stanford's serving which produced eight aces but kept CSUN off balance.

"We didn't play badly tonight," said head coach Jeff Campbell. "They affected us with their serving and you've got to give Stanford credit, they served us off the court tonight. Overall I'm pretty pleased with earning a split on this two-match road trip."

The Matadors were right there in the opening set as Faulkner's kill gave CSUN a 13-12 lead. But an Eric Mochalski kill on the ensuing point sent Stanford on a decisive 7-0 run the opened up a 19-13 Cardinal lead. Freiha's kill temporarily kept the Matadors within striking distance at 21-18 but CSUN was unable to cut into the lead any further falling 25-21.

Stanford led almost from start to finish in set two, leading by as many as nine (19-10) after setter James Shaw put away a CSUN overpass. The Matadors got as close as six (23-17) late but CSUN had far too much ground to make up in the set.

The final set went back and forth until 13-13 when when Stanford engineered a 7-1 run behind its tough serving to open up a 20-14 advantage. Lenore's ace cut the lead to four at 20-16 but that was as close as the Matadors would get and the Cardinal had the three-set sweep.

Mochalski led Stanford with 11 kills (.688) while Steven Irvin added 10 (.107).

Cal State Northridge hosts Hawai'i on Friday, Feb. 7 in the first of two matches between the Matadors and Warriors.