January 29, 2010

Matadors Open Road Trip With Five-Set Win at No. 2 Stanford

Jan. 29, 2010

Final Stats

STANFORD, Calif. - Seniors Theo Edwards and Jacek Ratajczak each pounded a career-high in kills as third-ranked Cal State Northridge opened its two-match trip to Northern California with a 25-30, 30-21, 30-25, 32-34, 15-13 win at No. 2 Stanford on Friday at Maples Pavilion.

Edwards had a team-high 21 kills (.487) and Ratajczak added a career-best 20 kills (.514) as the Matadors (7-1, 4-1 MPSF) won their seventh in eight matches to open the season. Junior Tanner Nua chipped in 17 kills (.265) and added one ace and seven digs while senior Mike Gaudino added 11 kills (.179), 10 digs and six blocks for his second double-double of the 2010 season.

Setter Matt Stork's 71 assists is also a season-high as he helped Northridge to a solid .373 hitting percentage. Libero Ali'i Keohohou also notched a season-high 15 digs in the win.

"This is the type of win that we can gain some momentum from," said Matador head coach Jeff Campbell. "We're certainly not overlooking Pacific on Saturday, we need to play well tomorrow as well but we're not going to lose too many matches when we hit .373 as a team."

With the score tied 16-16 in the opening set, Stanford rolled off three straight points, two coming on Northridge hitting errors, and never looked back. The Cardinal took their biggest lead at 29-23 and took set one 30-25.

Set two remained close after an Evan Romero-Garrett Warner block pulled Stanford within 12-11. But a Nua kill followed by a Stork-Drew Staker block and a Staker kill opened up a 15-11 Matador lead. The Northridge lead was five (18-13) before three straight Cardinal points cut the lead to 18-16. The Matadors also led by two at 19-17 before claiming eight of the next 10 points to take an insurmountable 26-18 lead capped by a Stork kill. Edwards' kill on set point evened the match at one set apiece.

The Matadors blew open a tight third set with a 7-2 run at 8-8 and never looked back. Leading 15-10, the Northridge lead was never less than two the rest of the way and Gaudino's kill on set point put the Matadors up two sets to one.

Northridge looked to have the match well in hand leading 24-17 in the fourth set only to see Stanford score 10 of the next 13 points to even the frame 27-27 as Brad Lawson-Gus Ellis teamed up to stuff Nua's attack. Kawika Shoji's ace put the Cardinal in front to stay 28-27 and after a Stork service error, Lawson's kill sent the match to a fifth and final set.

Stanford took an early 3-1 lead in the final set before the Matadors used three straight Cardinal miscues and an Edwards kill to take a 5-3 lead. Northridge took its largest lead at 7-4 following another Edwards kill. Stanford would close to within one seven times, the last at 14-13 but a Kevin McKniff kill ended the match.

Lawson led Stanford (3-3, 3-3 MPSF) with a match-high 26 kills (.360) while Evan Romero added 18 (.160) and Gus Ellis had 11 (.667). The Cardinal wound up hitting .290 (70-25-155) as a team.

Cal State Northridge continues its road trip on Saturday as the Matadors head to Stockton to take on Pacific at 7 p.m.

- GO MATADORS -