January 15, 2010

Edwards, McKniff Power Second-Ranked Matadors to Sweep Over No. 9 Long Beach State

Jan. 15, 2010

Final Stats

LONG BEACH, Calif. - Seniors Theo Edwards and Kevin McKniff combined for 31 of Cal State Northridge's 53 kills as the second-ranked Matadors swept No. 9 Long Beach State 30-26, 30-23, 30-27 for their fifth straight win Friday at the Walter Pyramid.

Northridge (5-0, 2-0 MPSF) was paced by Edwards who knocked down 17 kills while hitting .395 to go with six digs. McKniff added 14 kills, hitting .619 while fellow senior Jacek Ratzjczak chipped in nine kills (.636) and four blocks. Setter Matt Stork registered his second double-double of 2010 (fifth career) with 41 assists and 10 digs and libero Ali'i Keohohou dug 12 49er attacks.

As a team, the Matadors hit .366 (53-12-112), served four aces (with just nine errors) and had 38 digs and 9.5 blocks to just 3.0 for the Beach.

Long Beach State (2-3, 1-1 MPSF) was paced by Dean Bittner's match-high 19 kills (.351). Antwain Aguillard added eight kills (.899) (8-0-9) while Conor Eaton finished with 44 assists as the 49ers hit .272 as a team.

The two teams battled back and forth in the first game with the Matadors taking an early lead by The Beach battling back to tie it at 18. Cal State Northridge then went on a run getting eight of the next 10 points to take a 26-20 lead. Long Beach cut the lead to 26-22 and would ultimately pull within 27-25 but a McKniff kill followed by an Edwards-Drew Staker block on set point gave Northridge the set 30-26.

Northridge, which jumped out to an early 11-6 lead in set two, never trailed in the frame. The Matadors took their biggest lead of the set (20-12) after a Stork ace and Northridge never looked back taking a 2-0 lead in the match with a 30-23 win. The Matadors hit a blistering .471 in the set while LBSU struggled to a .211 clip.

Long Beach held the lead for much of set three, building a three-point cushion at 24-21 following a Bittner kill. But the Matadors rallied scoring the next three points to tie it at 24. A 49er setting error put Northridge on top 26-25 and the Matadors would never relinquish the lead. With the score knotted at 27-27, the Matadors got kills from Edwards and Gaudino followed by an Edwards solo block on match point to take the 30-27 win.

Cal State Northridge returns home to open a two-match homestand next Wednesday, Jan. 20 as the Matadors host UC Irvine at 7 p.m. in The Matadome.

- GO MATADORS -