April 2, 2010
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - In their second match against a top-ranked team this season, fifth-ranked Cal State Northridge turned back No. 1 Stanford, 30-26, 21-30, 31-29, 30-27 Friday as senior Theo Edwards put down a team-high 17 kills.
The Matadors (17-7, 12-6 MPSF), who fell at No. 1 Pepperdine in their first bid to unseat a number one team on Feb. 26, dealt the Cardinal (15-5, 12-5 MPSF) their first loss in their last nine matches.
Edwards, who rebounded from a recent string of tough hitting matches, led five Matador hitters in double figures with 17 kills (.316). Edwards had his best hitting night in terms of kills and hitting percentage since Feb. 17 at UC Irvine when he also had 17 kills while hitting .333. The senior also had 10 digs on Friday to post his second career double-double.
Senior Jacek Ratajczak also bounced back from two tough matches at Ball State last weekend as he posted 15 kills (.414) and nine blocks (one solo). Kevin McKniff (.450), Mike Gaudino (.455) and Tanner Nua (.200) each added 11 kills for the Matadors in the win. Gaudino also matched his career-high with 18 digs while libero Ali'i Keohohou had 16. Setter Matt Stork registered 66 assists, four digs and four blocks and served one of Northidge's four aces in the match. The Matadors hit .316 as a team and had 16.0 team blocks which was a near season-high.
"Our outsides and middles played well tonight," said Northridge head coach Jeff Campbell. "When all four of our hitters are playing well it certainly makes things a lot easier.
"We needed to play well tonight and I thought for the most part we did," added Campbell. "We hit for a good percentage, did a good job of serving and passed well enough to win."
The Matadors trailed briefly in the opening set as Stanford held early leads of 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2. A Ratajczak kill followed by a Spencer McLachlin hitting error gave Northridge a 4-3 lead and the Matadors would not trail again in the set. After the Matadors opened up a 10-6 lead following a McKniff-John Baker block, the teams played even until the Cardinal closed to within 21-20 on a Brad Lawson ace. But Northridge quickly regained control scoring four straight to lead 25-20 eventually taking the set 30-26.
Set two was all Stanford as the Cardinal jumped out to a 4-1 lead and would never look back. The Matadors kept within striking distance trailing 13-10 following a Gaudino kill but a 7-1 Stanford run quickly turned the set into a rout. The Cardinal led by as many as nine (22-13) before evening the match with the 30-21 win.
Set three swung the momentum back in the Matadors' favor as the frame featured 14 ties and seven lead changes. After Northridge took an 11-6 lead following an Edwards kill, Stanford battled back to knot the score at 15 after an Evan Romero put-away. The teams then traded sideouts until 23-23 when the Matadors used back-to-back kills from McKniff and Edwards to take a 25-23 lead. However two straight Cardinal points, the last on a Garrett Werner kill, evened things again at 25-25. A series of sideouts followed before a Nua service error followed by another Werner kill gave the Cardinal the lead 28-27. A Romero kill gave Stanford a set point at 29-28 in the pivotal game but Ratacjzak and Gaudino both answered with kills and at 30-29, Romero's attack sailed long and the Matadors had the 2-1 advantage.
The final set was also tight as the teams played to a tie 15 times, the last at 23-23. An Edwards kill, which put the Matadors in front 23-22, fueled Northridge on a 4-1 run which put the Matadors in front to stay 26-23. Stanford pulled within one twice down the stretch, the last time at 28-27, before a Gaudino kill and a Romero hitting error on match point sent the Matadors to the upset win.
For Stanford, Lawson had a match-high 24 kills (.340) while Romero added 18 (.135). Cardinal setter Kawika Shoji had a solid all-around match with 53 assists, eight kills, two aces and 11 digs. Stanford served nine aces as a team while hitting .240.
Cal State Northridge continues its four-match homestand Saturday as the Matadors host Pacific at 7 p.m.
- GO MATADORS -