March 25, 2011
STANFORD, Calif. - Cal State Northridge had second-ranked Stanford on the ropes but the Cardinal was able to battle back and stave off the Matadors' upset bid, 23-25, 25-22, 25-19, 28-26, 15-11 in an MPSF match Friday at Maples Pavilion.
CSUN (6-17, 4-12 MPSF) was looking for its third win of the season over a second-ranked team as the Matadors had already upset No. 2 Long Beach State and No. 2 BYU. But the 1-2 punch of Brad Lawson and Spencer McLachlin was enough for Stanford (15-5, 12-4 MPSF) as the duo combined for 47 of the teams' 70 kills.
The Matadors had a season-high four players reach double figures in kills as junior Matt Stork put down a team-high 18 (.235). Tanner Nua added 15 kills in 42 swings (.190) to go with a season-high eight digs, Brandon Lebrock posted a career-high 14 while hitting .444 and Drew Staker chipped in 10 kills while also hitting .444.
Junior setter Danny Rodrick registered a season-high 54 assists and nine blocks while leading the Matadors to a .288 hitting clip. Libero Kaleo Baxter shattered his career-high with 19 digs. The Matadors didn't help themselves at the service line committing 19 errors without serving an ace.
After the two teams traded the first two sets, the Matadors hit a blistering .364 to claim the third set 25-19. The fourth set was the tighest of the match as the score was tied 18 times after CSUN overcame an early Stanford lead. A co-block from Faulkner and Rodrick gave the Matadors their first chance at match point at 24-23 but Faulkner committed a service error. Another CSUN block, this time from Rodrick and Staker, gave the Matadors their second match point at 25-24 but again Stanford answered and the Cardinal claimed four of the final five points to force a fifth set.
CSUN took a pair of early two-point leads in the fifth and deciding set as kills from Lebrock and Nua gave the Matadors a 2-0 lead and a Nua kill and a Faulkner-Rodrick block put Northridge up 4-2. But Stanford was able to pull even each time and eventually took the lead 6-5 on a McLachlin kill. With the score tied 7-7, the Cardinal scored three straight points to make the Matador comeback even more challenging.
Another Faulkner-Nua block pulled CSUN within one at 11-10 but the Matadors could get no closer as McLachlin's kill on match point staved off the upset.
McLachlin had 24 kills (.302) to lead Stanford while Lawson added 23 (.275). Evan Berry had a match-high 61 assists as the Cardinal hit .250.
Cal State Northridge concludes its two-match trip to Northern California on Saturday as the Matadors travel to Stockton to take on Pacific at 7 p.m.
- GO MATADORS -