The ninth-ranked Matadors (3-2, 1-2 Mountain Pacific) men’s volleyball team three-match winning streak was snapped Wednesday when they were defeated by third-ranked UC Irvine Anteaters (5-3, 2-3) in four sets.
The Anteaters handed the Matadors their first home loss of the season, and gave UC Irvine its seventh win in a row between the two teams.
Northridge started out the match by winning the first set, where it rallied from a three-point deficit and won the set 25-23 on a kill by senior middle blocker Jared Moore.
Overcoming a deficit in the first set, CSUN continued the trend of playing from behind throughout the match.
“In game one we battled, passed, and served really well and (were) able to put out that win,” head coach Jeff Campbell said. “But in games two, three , (and) four we served okay, but the problem was that we could not pass.”
Northridge’s passing woes were a key issue in the loss.
“We just got to serve well and pass well,” sophomore setter Travis Magorien said, who recorded 36 assists in the match. “We just need more repetitions and I don’t think a lot of our passes were ready because we have not gotten a lot reps. I think its just a learning experience for everyone.”
The Matadors started the second set trailing 0-4 after a kill by Anteaters sophomore middle blocker Collin Mehring. CSUN cut the lead to a two-point deficit by making a 4-0 run to 14-12, but UC Irvine responded by going on its own 6-0 run that propelled them to win the set 25-19.
Neither team performed well offensively in the second set, with the Matadors recording a -.087 hitting percentage. The Anteaters fared a little better, hitting .185 in the second set.
The Anteaters began the third set with an early 4-1 lead, but Northridge put up a fight to stay competitive. The Matadors were able to tie the score eight times throughout the set, getting to 13-13 before UC Irvine slowly began to put the game out of reach. Northridge fell behind by six points in the match, eventually losing the set 25-20 on a kill from Anteaters sophomore outside hitter Jeremy Dejno.
CSUN’s offensive woes continued in the fourth set, falling behind early 12-7. Unable to pickup any points against a UC Irvine team that hit .737 in the set, the Matadors lost the set 25-13.
“The keys to tonight’s game were to serve and pass and we just didn’t do that,” Moore said. “We couldn’t pass the ball and we couldn’t run our normal offense.”
CSUN committed a season-high 20 service errors throughout the sets.
“(UC Irvine) served well, it affected us and we were not able to get any steam or rally because we were constantly over passing the ball,” Campbell said. “In order to win we got to serve and pass and we did not do that tonight.”