Matadors Earn First Road Win with Straight-Set Sweep at UC San Diego

LA JOLLA, Calif. - The 15th-ranked Cal State Northridge men's volleyball team picked up its first road win of the 2012 season on Friday as the Matadors swept UC San Diego 25-18, 25-14, 28-26 in an MPSF match Friday at RIMAC Arena.

Northridge (5-9, 3-7 MPSF) snapped a three-match losing streak while also keeping its dominance over the Tritons intact. The Matadors still have not dropped a match to UC San Diego since 1988, a span of 40 consecutive Northridge wins.

Junior John Baker, starting at opposite in place of an injured Julius Hoefer, led the Matadors with a match-high 11 kills while hitting .500 in 20 attacks. Baker also added four block assists while Brandon Lebrock chipped in eight kills (.467) six digs and a pair of blocks while Matt Stork also notched seven kills (.333), two aces and six digs.

"John Baker did a nice job for us tonight," said head coach Jeff Campbell. "That's what we need out of our opposite and he also had some nice blocks."

Senior Danny Rodrick earned his second start of the season and handed out 34 assists while leading the Matadors to a .408 team hitting clip. Middles Drew Staker and Jared Moore combined for 11 kills while Staker hit .556 in nine swings to go with five blocks. Libero Sina Aghassy also had a match-high nine digs in the win.

The Matadors limited the Tritons to .111 hitting in 99 attacks and had 8.5 team blocks to 4.0 for UCSD.

"This was a total team effort for us tonight," said Campbell. "To win in three games on the road against any MPSF team is a good win. We hit over .400 and when we do that we're not going to lose too many matches. We also did a good job of affecting the other team, I thought we played very well and I'm very pleased with the win tonight."

The Matadors took command in set one as they opened up a 17-8 lead following a solo block from Lebrock. Northridge led by as many as eight (20-12) when the Tritons tallied three straight to cut the lead to 20-15. But a Moore kill followed by back-to-back Staker kills helped the Matadors pull away late. Northridge then dominated the second set hitting .500 with nine kills and one error in 16 swings to win going away 25-14.

The final set was a battle as the two teams traded the lead until 20-20. A pair of Triton hitting miscues opened up a 22-20 lead for the Matadors but UCSD quickly knotted the score again on consecutive kills. Rodrick's service ace at 23-all gave Northridge its first match point but the Tritons saved that one and two more before a service error and a UCSD hitting error gave the Matadors the 28-26 win.

Johl Awerkamp came off the bench to lead the Tritons (3-12, 1-9 MPSF) with 11 kills (.300) while Vaun Lennon chipped in eight kills (.087) and six digs.

Cal State Northridge returns home next week as the Matadors open a season-long, nine-match homestand Wednesday, Feb. 29 against UC Santa Barbara. First serve in The Matadome is scheduled for 7 p.m.