NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Cal State Northridge looked to conclude its season-long four-match homestand on a winning note but eighth-ranked Stanford had other ideas as the Cardinal claimed a 25-20, 25-17, 25-22 MPSF victory Saturday in The Matadome.
CSUN, which had won two of its first three on the homestand, fell to 5-10 overall and 5-9 in the MPSF. Stanford improved to 10-7 overall and evens its conference record at 7-7. More importantly the Cardinal opened up a two-game lead on the Matadors in the MPSF standings as the second half began this week.
Redshirt freshman Jakub Ciesla had a team-high 12 kills for the Matadors, his best offensive output since putting down a career-high 13 kills against Cal Baptist on Jan. 8. Ciesla hit .259 on 27 swings while Greg Faulkner added six kills (.308) and three blocks.
Sam Holt and Kyle Stevenson combined for the remaining nine CSUN kills as the Matadors managed just 27 kills as a team while the visiting Cardinal struck for 50. Stanford, the MPSF's top hitting team, wound up hitting .456 (50-14-79) to CSUN's .197 (27-14-66).
A trio of Cardinal hitters reached double figures led by Brian Cook's match-high 18 kills (.696). Steven Irvin (.474) and Eric Mochalski (.300) each added 11 kills in the win.
After falling behind 10-3 early in the opening set, the Matadors battled back to within 17-14 forcing Stanford into a timeout. CSUN still trailed by three at 20-17 when Faulkner put up a solo block on Denny Falls and the Matadors were within two. But that was as close as CSUN would get as the Cardinal took the next three points to all but salt away set one.
The second set was the tightest of the match as the two teams battled to a 15-15 tie. Kills from Cook and Mochalski along with a Daniel Tublin ace gave Stanford an 18-15 lead before Tublin's service error ended the run with the Cardinal leading 18-16. CSUN, however would score just once more the remainder of the set as Stanford pulled away late for the 25-17 decision.
The Cardinal led by as many as four for a good portion of the final set before Tublin's second ace boosted the lead to five at 19-14. Still trailing by five at 20-15, the Matadors received a kill and an ace from Holt and a Stanford hitting error to again get within two at 20-18. CSUN stayed within two at 23-21 and 24-22 before Irvin's kill on match point gave Stanford the sweep.
Cal State Northridge travels to Cal Baptist next Thursday, Mar. 6 before returning home to host No. 2 BYU on Saturday, Mar. 8.
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