March 12, 2011
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Sophomore Drew Staker had a team-high 10 kills and junior Danny Rodrick dished out 28 assists to go with eight digs as Cal State Northridge snapped a five-match skid with a 25-16, 25-20, 25-17 non-conference win over Harvard Saturday in The Matadome.
The Matadors (5-15) hit a season-high .382 (37-8-76) against the Crimson (8-6) and also had seven aces, four by freshman Brandon Lebrock who upped his team-leading total to 16.
Staker had 10 kills in 11 swings to hit a match-high .909. The sophomore middle was a perfect nine-for-nine through two sets and also had a match-high six blocks. Junior Matt Stork added eight kills (.318) and freshman Greg Faulkner chipped in six (.667). Lebrock also added five kills, two digs and three blocks to go with his four aces. Rodrick registered 28 assists and three kills and matched libero Kaleo Baxter with a team-high eight digs.
The Matadors, who never trailed in the opening set, picked up their first 3-0 sweep of the season. CSUN got a kill from Stork to take an early 7-5 lead and soon bumped the lead to 10-6 after Staker's solo block. A Michael Owen kill pulled Harvard within 10-8 before three straight Matador points boosted the lead back to five at 13-8. A kill and an ace from Matt Jones temporarily pulled the Crimson within 13-10 but Northridge took control with a 6-0 run and was never threatened the rest of the set.
Set two was the most competitive of the match as Harvard opened up an 8-4 lead following a Lebrock hitting error and Jones' second ace of the match. Trailing 9-7, the Matadors got a pair of Staker kills and a Rodrick ace to take their first lead 10-9. CSUN opened up slim two point leads at 12-10 and 14-12 before the Crimson battled back to tie the set 14-14 on a Rob Lothman setter dump. The teams traded sideouts until 17-17 when the Matadors used kills from Lebrock and Stork along with a Harvard hitting error to take the lead for good 20-17. The Crimson pulled within two three times late, the last at 22-20 before a pair of Harvard miscues and a John Baker ace put the Matadors up two sets.
Harvard scored the first point of set three before the Matadors rallied for seven of the next nine points to open up a 7-3 lead. The Crimson kept it close behind a 3-0 run before an ensuing 5-0 CSUN run put the Matadors in front 11-6 following a Lebrock ace. The Northridge lead was never less than four the rest of the way and Stork's kill on match point gave the Matadors the straight set victory.
Jones wound up with a match-high 14 kills (.481) to lead Harvard while Chris Gibbons added 10 kills (.368). Lothman had 29 assists and five digs as the Crimson hit .280 as a team.
Cal State Northridge returns to MPSF play next weekend as the Matadors host No. 2 BYU for two matches, Friday and Saturday (Mar. 18-19).
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