NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Brandon Lebrock matched his season-high with 19 kills and eighth-ranked Cal State Northridge used a season-best hitting performance to top the visiting Pacific Tigers 25-15, 24-26, 25-22, 25-17 in MPSF action Saturday night at The Matadome.
The Matadors (7-5, 5-5 MPSF), who improved to 3-1 on their current five-match homestand, did not commit a hitting error until its 38th swing of the match as they wound up hitting a season-high .479 (55-10-94) in the win. The Tigers (5-6, 3-6 MPSF) also hit well as a team checking in at .303 (51-21-99) despite winning just one of the four sets.
Lebrock rebounded from a tough hitting night against Stanford on Friday by attacking at a season-high .586 in 29 swings. The junior from Northridge, Calif., committed just two hitting errors on the night while also adding five blocks and three digs. Senior John Baker continued to hit extremely well on the homestand as he added 15 kills (.433), a team-high six digs and a pair of blocks. Fellow senior Jared Moore notched his second straight solid hitting effort as he chipped in 10 kills in 14 attempts (.643). Moore, who had a match-high six blocks, also served a season-high two aces while Drew Staker added CSUN's third.
In just his second career start, setter Alex Jones dished out 47 assists and also notched his first collegiate kill early in the third set. Jones helped the Matador hitters to an astounding .800 hitting clip in the opening set as CSUN didn't hit less than .367 in any of the remaining three sets.
"Anytime a team hits .800, you know you're firing on all cylinders," said Northridge head coach Jeff Campbell. "We passed well, we set well and we hit well so you can't ask for much more than that. Alex Jones did a great job for us tonight, I'm really proud of the way he played and overall I'm really happy with the win."
The Matadors took control of set one when leading 10-8, CSUN used five kills, three co-blocks and a Tiger hitting error to open up a 19-10 lead. The Northridge lead was at least eight points to rest of the way as the Matadors took the opening set going away 25-15.
Looking to take control of the match in set two, CSUN and Pacific battled to nine ties while the lead changed hands on seven different occasions. A Tiger hitting error gave the Matadors an early 12-8 lead but following a Pacific timeout, the Tigers outscored CSUN 6-3 over the next nine points to pull within 15-14. The Matadors, however would not surrender the lead despite Pacific knotting the score at 21, 22 and 23. With the score tied 23-23, Lebrock's kill gave the Matadors set point but Moore's serve did not clear the net and Pacific then took advantage of back-to-back Staker hitting errors to take its first lead and capture the set 26-24.
Both teams then hit well in set three as CSUN hit .409 to the Tigers' .391. After Pacific led early 6-3, the Matadors claimed five of the next six points to take their first lead at 8-7 following a Tiger hitting error. The set remained tight until kills from Lebrock and Baker capped a 4-1 Northridge run that put the Matadors up 17-13. CSUN still led by four at 22-18 when the Tigers put together a 3-1 run to pull within two at 23-21. But Lebrock responded with a kill and the Matadors cashed in in their second set point when Pacific setter Patrick Tunnell's serve found the net.
CSUN then replicated its .409 hitting from set three while the Tigers struggled to a .138 clip in dropping the final set 25-17. Holding a two-point cushion at 14-12, the Matadors outscred Pacific 8-3 over the next 11 points to take an insurmountable 22-15 lead before another Tiger hitting error on match point sent the Matadors home victorious.
Adam Troy led Pacific with 17 kills (.324) in 34 swings while Christian Franceschi came off the bench to put down 11 kills hitting .533. Both Troy and Franceschi had an ace for the Tigers.
Cal State Northridge wraps up its five-match homestand next Friday, Feb. 22 as the Matadors host Long Beach State at 7 p.m.
- GO MATADORS -