January 20, 2010

Matadors Remain Unbeaten After 31-29, 27-30, 30-27 30-28 Win Over No. 4 UC Irvine

Jan. 20, 2010

Final Stats

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Theo Edwards and Tanner Nua each pounded a team-high 18 kills to lead second-ranked Cal State Northridge to a 31-29, 27-30, 30-27 30-28 victory over No. 4 UC Irvine Wednesday night at The Matadome.

The Matadors (6-0, 3-0 MPSF) run their season-opening win streak to six matching their 6-0 start from a season ago. The Anteaters slip to 4-3 overall and 1-2 in conference play.

Edwards and Nua paced four Northridge hitters in double figures with 18 apiece as Edwards hit .308 while Nua hit .297. Nua also added two aces and eight digs while Edwards had five digs and a pair of blocks. Senior Mike Gaudino added a season-high 15 kills (.242) to go with seven digs and four blocks (one solo). Senior Kevin McKniff also posted double figures with 10 kills (.444) and a pair of aces.

After trailing early in set one, the Matadors reclaimed the lead 6-5 following a Jacek Ratajczak ace. Northridge held the lead until a Matt Stork hitting error pulled UCI even at 24-24. A Carson Clark kill gave the Anteaters their first lead since 5-4 as UCI went up 27-26. Back-to-back kills from McKniff and Edwards gave the Matadors a 28-27 lead but a a Gaudino service error and a Jordan DuFault kill gave UCI set point at 29-28. Edwards' sixth kill of the set followed by a pair of Northridge blocks tipped the set in the Matadors' favor 31-29.

After Northridge took a 2-0 lead in set two, the Anteaters rolloed off four straight points to take the lead for good. Trailing 18-12, the Matadors put together an 8-2 run to pull even at 20-20 on an Edwards kill. The score was also tied at 21 and 22 before kills from Clark and Kevin Carroll gave UCI a three-point edge at 27-24. McKniff's service error on set point evened the match.

Set three was the tighest of the match as the teams battled through 17 ties and four lead changes. With the score tied for the final time at 27-27, the Matadors used a Connor Hughes service error and a pair of well-placed serves by McKniff to take a 2-1 lead in the match.

After falling behind 21-17 in the fourth and final set, the Anteaters battled back to within one several times down the stretch, the last at 29-28 before Clark's attack sailed long and Northridge claimed the four-set win.

Clark led UCI with a match-high 23 kills (.349) while DuFault added 18 (.471). Anthony Spittle came off the bench to post 43 assists and seven digs for the Anteaters.

Cal State Northridge wraps up its brief two-match homestand Friday as the Matadors host No. 10 UCLA at 7 p.m.

- GO MATADORS -