Matadors Drop Home Finale in Straight Sets to No. 4 UC Irvine
April 9, 2011
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Cal State Northridge looked to wrap up the home portion of the 2011 schedule on a winning note but fourth-ranked UC Irvine came into The Matadome and swept the Matadors 25-22, 25-17, 25-17 on senior night despite a match-high 17 kills from junior Matt Stork.
The Matadors (7-21, 5-16 MPSF) conclude one of the their toughest home seasons with a 4-9 record in The Matadome. The last time a Northridge team lost as many as nine home matches was 1999 when CSUN finished 2-11 at home.
The Anteaters (17-11, 13-8 MPSF) did not dominate the stat sheet but did post a sizable .392-.223 advantage in hitting. The Matadors had 40 kills as a team to 38 for UCI while the Anteaters had an slim advantage in aces of 3-2. UC Irvine won the defensive battle with 34 team digs to 23 for CSUN and the Anteaters had 8.0 team blocks to 4.0 for the Matadors.
As he has been the case for the past few weeks, Stork was the main offensive threat for Northridge as the junior pounded a match-high 17 kills while hitting .324 in 37 swings. Stork also had one of the Matadors' two aces and had two digs and two blocks. Playing his final home match, senior Tanner Nua added seven kills (.214) along with one dig and one block. Greg Faulkner chipped in four kills, as did John Baker off the bench, and also had a team-high three blocks. Senior Jeff Baxter started at setter and registered 17 assists in his one and only set while leading the Matadors to a .394 hitting clip.
The match was the home finale for seniors Nua, Baxter and libero Kaleo Baxter who had a team-high seven digs in the loss.
CSUN opened the first set in good shape as a Faulkner kill gave the Matadors an early 9-6 lead. But four consecutive UCI points quickly erased the Northridge lead and the Anteaters led until a Marty Lorenz kill pulled the Matadors even at 13-13. A Lorenz ace put CSUN in front 14-13 and the Matadors also held a one-point lead at 15-14 following a Nua kill. But a Nua hitting error followed by a Carson Clark kill put the Anteaters back in front for good at 16-15.
The Matadors kept it close in the latter stages, getting to within 21-20 on a Lorenz kill but an ensuing 3-0 UCI run put the set out of reach for Northridge as Jordan DuFault's kill on set point gave UCI the 25-22 win.
The Anteaters jumped out to leads of 6-2, 8-3 and 9-4 early in set two and never looked back. Trailing 14-8, the Matadors fought back to within 16-13 when Nua and Faulkner teamed up to stuff DuFault's attack. But a 3-0 run quickly built the UCI lead back to 19-13 and the Anteaters pulled away late, winning the set on a Clark ace.
The Matadors stayed within striking distance in the final set as Stork's kill pulled CSUN within two points at 17-15. But a UCI kill, a CSUN hitting error and an Anteater block boosted the lead back to five at 20-15 and the Anteaters went on to win the set 25-17 and the match 3-0.
Cory Yoder led the Anteaters with 11 kills while hitting a robust .556 in 18 swings. DuFault added eight kills (.467) and Scott Kevorken chipped in six kills (.667) and four blocks.
Cal State Northridge concludes the 2011 season next Saturday, Apr. 16 as the Matadors travel to Long Beach State at 7 p.m.
- GO MATADORS -