Second-Ranked BYU Holds Off Holt, Matadors in Four Sets

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Cal State Northridge put together a gritty effort against second-ranked BYU before coming out on the short end of a hard-fought four-set decision Saturday night in a MPSF match at The Matadome.

The visiting Cougars held off the Matadors (6-11, 6-10 MPSF) before an announced crowd of 843 (CSUN's largest of the season) despite a career-high 32 kills from Northridge sophomore Sam Holt. Holt, who established a new career-high in kills (22) two nights ago at Cal Baptist, struck for 32 against BYU while hitting an impressive .393 on 61 swings.

Holt's kill total is the most by an MPSF player this season and the most by a Matador hitter since Eric Vance connected for 33 against Pepperdine in 2009. The sophomore, who now has 54 kills in his last two matches (7.71 kps), also added a pair of aces and four digs which gave him 34 points in the match, also the highest by a player in the MPSF this season.

"Sam was great tonight and really wanted it, the entire team played extremely hard," said CSUN head coach Jeff Campbell. "Tonight Sam was as good as any outside in the conference but he's still a sophomore so he's got two more years to gain experience."

Redshirt freshman Jakub Ciesla also had a solid all-around match with 10 kills and career-highs of 13 digs and two aces for his first collegiate double-double. Junior Greg Faulkner added seven kills (.385) while Travis Magorien posted 45 assists and eight digs.

BYU (13-4, 13-2 MPSF) had a slight edge in hitting as the Cougars hit .304 (48-14-112) to .288 (58-22-125) for the Matadors.

Despite being out-hit .367-.200 in set one, CSUN was within one at 19-18 following a Ciesla kill. But an ensuing three-point run by the Cougars gave BYU the margin it needed to pull out the 25-22 win. The Matadors were able to ramp up their hitting to a match-high .500 in set two looking to pull even. After the Cougars took an early 5-2 lead, CSUN battled back to tie the score at 8-8 when Holt put away a BYU overpass. The teams then traded sideouts until 19-19 when Holt's ace gave the Matadors a 20-19 lead.

The score was tied for the final time at 22-22 when a timely ace and a triple block by the Cougars set BYU up with set point at 24-22. Holt saved one set point with a kill but Michael Hatch connected on the ensuing point and BYU took a two-set lead.

Needing a win to extend the match, CSUN went down 13-10 and then by as many as five (19-14) when the Matadors rallied late. Trailing 22-16, Northridge scored five unanswered points to force a Cougar timeout at 22-21. BYU would not surrended the lead however and had match point at 24-23 when back-to-back kills from Holt put CSUN in the drivers seat at 25-24. The Matadors missed on their first two chances at the set before the second of Holt's consecutive kills at 27-26 gave CSUN the 28-26 win.

The Matadors went down quickly 8-4 in the final set before again battling back. Still trying to overcome a four-point BYU lead (16-12), CSUN outscored the Cougars 6-2 over the next eight points to knot the set at 18-18. However, the Matadors would not score again in the set as Josue Rivera stepped to the service line and rallied BYU to a match-clinching 7-0 run. 

Cal State Northridge opens up a season-long, six-match road swing this weekend as the Matadors take on Penn State and Ohio State in a pair of non-conference matches at Long Beach State.


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