April 5, 2014

CSUN Pulls Off Second Straight Upset, Tops No. 5 UCSB in Four Sets

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Sam Holt capped an impressive week with a match-high 18 kills while Cal State Northridge also got contributions from several key players as the Matadors upset fifth-ranked UC Santa Barbara 25-18, 21-25, 25-23, 25-23 in a MPSF match Saturday at The Matadome.

CSUN (10-15, 9-13 MPSF), which opened the week with a five-set upset over No. 9 UCLA two nights ago, topped the Gauchos for the third straight time in Northridge. The win also gave Matador head coach Jeff Campbell a double figure win total for the 15th time in 17 seasons on the CSUN bench.

Holt came out with the similar fire he had in putting down a career-high 37 kills against the Bruins on Thursday. The sophomore outside had nine kills on 10 swings (.900) into set two before finishing the match with 18 kills on 36 swings (.333). Damani Lenore added 11 kills (.333) while continually putting the Gauchos out of system with his serve. Vaughn Wellenreiter also capped a solid hitting week with 10 kills on a career-high 20 attacks (.450).

Matador setter Travis Magorien, who dished out a career-high 58 assists against UCLA, added 50 more in Saturday's win. He helped the CSUN hitters notch a .369 (57-16-111) hitting percentage in the victory. Greg Faulkner added nine kills (.438) and five blocks, Bradley Sakaida chipped in seven kills and three digs and senior libero Charlie Condron notched a match-high 10 digs.

After the two squads played to an 11-11 tie in the opening set, the Matadors took advantage of a pair of Gaucho hitting errors to take a 13-11 lead. CSUN then pushed the lead to 16-13 on a Holt kill and would extend the lead to as many as eight, which turned out to be the final margin.

The Gauchos pulled even in set two as they held a slim 22-21 lead late before scoring three unanswered points to close the set.

In the third frame, the Matadors found themselves down 23-20 with UCSB at the service line. A kill from Faulkner followed by a Gaucho hitting error pulled CSUN within 23-22. Following a UCSB timeout, a Faulkner-Lenore block followed by a Magorien ace and ultimately a Holt kill capped a set-clinching 5-0 run for the Matadors.

The final set featured 10 ties, the last at 20-20 when CSUN again dug deep down the stretch. Kills from Wellenreiter and Holt gave the Matadors a two-point cushion which also forced another Gaucho timeout. Wellenreiter's swing found the floor out of the timeout and the Matadors led by three before a hitting error and a Licht kill cut the lead to 23-22. A UCSB serve found the net on the next point before Holt's serve did the same on CSUN's first match point. But after a wild sequence on the ensuing play, Holt's attack was just out of the reach of Matt Hanley and CSUN had the four-set upset. 

The Gauchos (15-8, 14-8) were paced by Weston Nielsen's 16 kills while Hanley added 13 and Evan Licht chipped in 10.

Cal State Northridge completed the 2014 season next week as the Matadors will travel to Long Beach State on Thursday before hosting the 49ers on Saturday.

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