Jan. 29, 2011
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Cal State Northridge saw its home record dip to 0-3 after the visiting Pacific Tigers defeated the 13th-ranked Matadors 25-16, 31-29, 25-20 in an MPSF Saturday night at The Matadome.
Northridge (2-7, 1-5 MPSF) has now lost four straight matches overall, the longest such losing streak for a Matador team since 2001. Pacific (4-4, 1-3 MPSF) won for the first time in Northridge since 2003, a span of seven matches.
Although the Matadors improved their hitting against the Tigers, no Northridge hitter had more than nine kills in the match. Freshmen Greg Faulkner and Brandon Lebrock led the Matadors with nine kills apiece as each hit .375. Lebrock rounded out a solid all-around match with a pair of aces, seven digs and three blocks while Faulkner had four blocks and two digs. Sophomore Drew Staker was also effective for the Matadors as he knocked down eight kills while hitting .667 in 12 swings. Matt Stork registered 36 assists as CSUN hit .253 (39-17-87) as a team.
The Matadors had trouble stopping Pacific's attack as the Tigers hit .600 in the opening set and .352 (43-11-91) for the match. Pacific also served eight aces and had 12.0 team blocks to 7.0 for Northridge.
"I'm disappointed because we didn't play well," said Matador head coach Jeff Campbell. "We were pretty inconsistent tonight and we're just not playing well right now. We tried a couple of different things tonight but some guys just hit very poorly. We need to improve and get better and we're going to work Monday in practice."
The teams traded sideouts for the first eight points of the opening set before Pacific claimed six of the next seven points to open up a 10-5 lead. A Tiger hitting error and a Staker kill pulled CSUN within two at 11-9 and the Matadors also trailed by two at 12-10 before the Tigers widened their lead with a 3-0 run. Northridge could only get within four (16-12) before Pacific built its lead to as many as eight at 21-13 late in the set.
Set two was easily the best of the match as the frame featured 20 ties and six lead changes. Neither team led by more than two points until Pacific got an ace from Sean Daley to take a 21-18 lead. CSUN cut the lead to one three times and eventually drew even at 24-24 after Faulkner and Stork teamed up to block Florian Gornik. The Matadors saved set points at 25-24 and 26-25 before a pair of Tiger miscues gave CSUN its first set point at 27-26. A Daley kill saved one set point before an Adam Troy hitting error gave the Matadors another chance at 28-27. Troy however answered with a kill which propelled the Tigers on a 3-1 run which wrapped up the set 31-29.
Needing to win the final three sets, the Matadors took a 14-12 lead midway through set three only to watch as Pacific battled back to tie the score at 16-16 on a Taylor Hughes kill. Hughes' kill was the first of four straight Tiger points that put Pacific in front to stay 19-16. Lebrock's second ace temporarily pulled the Matadors within 19-18 but that was as close as CSUN would get as Pacific pulled away for the victory.
Gornik led all hitters with a match-high 17 kills while hitting .615. Gornik also had two of Pacific's eight aces. Hughes added 13 kills (.300) and two aces while setter Patrick Tunnell dished out a match-high 40 assists.
Cal State Northridge hits the road for four of its next five matches beginning next Friday, Feb. 4 as the Matadors take on Ohio State as part of the Penn State Tournament in University Park, Pa.
- GO MATADORS -