Jan. 9, 2009
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Senior Eric Vance knocked down a match-high 21 kills as fifth-ranked Cal State Northridge opened the 2009 season with a 24-30, 30-26, 30-18, 30-21 win over No. 2 UCLA at the UCSB/Elephant Bar Invitational at The Thunderdome on Friday.
With 21 kills, Vance led a trio of Northridge hitters who posted double figures in kills. The senior from Camarillo hit .372 with 21 kills and five errors in a match-high 43 attacks. He also added three aces and five digs. Sophomore Tanner Nua, who struggled early on, found his swing midway through the match and wound up with 14 kills (.097). Nua also had three of the Matadors' 8.0 team blocks. Junior Jacek Ratajczak chipped in 10 kills while hitting .533 and fellow junior Mike Gaudino added five kills, nine digs and a match-high four aces. Freshman setter Matt Stork registered 49 assists in his collegiate debut while leading the Matadors to a solid .264 hitting clip as a team.
Northridge had 12 aces as a team, as junior Kevin McKniff also added three, and out-hit the Bruins .264 (57-25-121) to .130 (40-26-108). McKniff also had a team-high six blocks (one solo) while libero Ali'i Keohohou matched Gaudino for match-high in digs with nine.
After hitting .097 in dropping set one 30-24, the Matadors cranked up their hitting and served extremely well the rest of the way. Northridge hit .345 in set two, .300 in set three and .323 in the fourth and final set.
"We are happy about starting the season with a win especially against such a talented team as UCLA," said head coach Jeff Campbell. "But we don't have much time to rest, we need to re-focus for our match against UC Santa Barbara tonight."
The Matadors will meet top-seeded UC Santa Barbara Friday night at 7 p.m. The Gauchos defeated Pacific in four sets Friday afternoon. Other first round matches saw Stanford knock off BYU 3-0 and Long Beach State defeat UC Irvine 3-0.
- GO MATADORS -