John Baker Pounds a Match-High 17 Kills as No. 5 Matadors Sweep Pacific
April 3, 2010
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - John Baker hit .667 with a match-high 17 kills as fifth-ranked Cal State Northridge rolled to a 30-23, 30-23, 30-20 win over the visiting Pacific Tigers Saturday at The Matadome.
With the sweep, the Matadors (18-7, 13-6) keep pace with Stanford, Pepperdine and BYU at the top of the MPSF standings. Stanford improved to 13-5 with a win over UC Santa Barbara on Saturday while BYU sits at 14-6 and has already clinched an MPSF Tournament berth.
Baker, who did not commit a single hitting error through the first two sets, wound up hitting .667 with 17 kills and one error in 24 swings. The redshirt freshman also added six digs, two aces and a pair of blocks.
Seniors Kevin McKniff and Mike Gaudino also hit well as each had eight kills with McKniff hitting .727 in 11 swings and Gaudino hitting .500 in 16 attacks. McKniff also contributed four blocks (one solo) while Gaudino added one ace and six digs.
The opening set featured the most drama in the match as the lead changed hands four times and the frame was tied on seven occasions. After the Matadors broke open a 7-7 tie with four straight points (highlighted by an ace and a kill from Jacek Ratajczak), the Tigers battled back with a 7-1 run to take a 16-14 lead after Stork was called for a setting error. Pacific held on to the lead until 21-20 when back-to-back kills from Gaudino and McKniff propelled Northridge on a 4-0 run to gave the Matadors the lead for good at 24-21. Baker's ace on set point sealed the sent Northridge to the 30-23 win.
The Matadors claimed the first two points of the second set and never trailed. A co-block from McKniff and Theo Edwards gave Northridge its largest lead at 13-8 before Pacific clawed back to within two at 14-12. The Tigers kept within striking distance trailing 18-15 before the Matadors took six of the next eight points to open up an insurmountable 24-17 lead.
Pacific led early in the final set before a Tiger hitting error, a Tanner Nua ace and a McKniff kill opened up a 7-4 Northridge lead. The Matador lead was never less than four the rest of the way and Drew Staker ended the match with his second kill of the night.
Taylor Hughes led the Tigers with 16 kills (.229) while Sean Daley added nine kills hitting .692.
Cal State Northridge continues its four-match homestand next Wednesday, Apr. 7 as the Matadors host UC Santa Barbara in their MPSF home finale at 7 p.m.
- GO MATADORS -