Jan. 12, 2011
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Freshman Brandon Lebrock had a team-high 10 kills but it wasn't nearly enough as the top-ranked USC Trojans ended a seven-year drought against Northridge defeating the 12th-ranked Matadors 25-18, 25-17, 25-20 in the MPSF opener for both teams Wednesday at the Galen Center.
The Matadors (1-3, 0-1 MPSF) had not lost to the Trojans (1-0, 1-0 MPSF) since Feb. 11 of the 2004 season, a streak of 17 straight CSUN wins.
Lebrock's 10 kills (.231) was enough to lead the Matadors on a night when CSUN hit .227 as a team. Sophomore Dillon Auxier added eight kills (.294) and four digs and fellow sophomore John Baker came off the bench to put down six kills while hitting .455. Baker also served one of only two Northridge aces with junior Matt Stork serving the other to go with his 35 assists. Libero Kaleo Baxter dug a team-high eight balls for the Matadors in the loss.
USC hit .455 (36-6-66) as a team and had 29 digs to 20 for Northridge. The Trojans also had 5.5 team blocks while the Matadors had just 1.0.
After 11 straight sideouts in the opening set, USC rolled off six straight points, three coming on blocks and three coming on Matador errors to take an 11-5 lead. Following the second Matador timeout, a Staker kill ended the run. The kill propelled CSUN on a 3-0 run which temporarily cut the lead to three at 11-8. Trailing 15-9, kills by Auxier and Nua closed the gap to 15-11 but the Trojans soon built the lead to as many as seven at 22-15 and Nua's service error on set point made the final 25-18.
Three consecutive Matador hitting errors put CSUN in a 5-1 hole to open the second set. The USC lead swelled to 8-1 forcing the Matadors to spend their second and final timeout. A Lorenz kill capped a 4-2 CSUN run that briefly cut the lead to 10-5. The Matadors then found themselves down 13-7 when the Trojans scored five straight to put the set out of reach at 18-7. Northridge got as close as seven three times in the latter stages, the final time at 24-17, before a Tony Ciarelli kill ended the set.
CSUN quickly fell behind 4-0 in set three before a John Baker kill ended the run. The Matadors stayed within striking distance at 10-7 following a Lebrock-Lorenz co-block and CSUN also trailed by three at 14-11 when Baker's ace pulled the Matadors within 14-12. Northridge still trailed by two at 17-15 before a Murphy Troy kill followed by a Lorenz hitting error put the Trojans back up by four at 19-15. A Lebrock kill pulled CSUN within 19-16 but the Matadors would get no closer the rest of the way, falling in the final set 25-20.
Ciarelli led USC with a match-high 11 kills (.304) while Troy added 10 kills while hitting .667.
Cal State Northridge will return to action Saturday as the Matadors travel to No. 3 Pepperdine. First serve at Firestone Fieldhouse is scheduled for 7 p.m.
- GO MATADORS -