The CSUN Matador men’s volleyball team ended its five-game home-stand with a bang, sweeping the New Jersey Institute of Technology by scores of 30-17, 30-18 and 30-18 at the Matadome Wednesday night, improving their record to 13-9.
“We played very well, and we played hard the entire time,” head coach Jeff Campbell said.
Sophomore outside hitter Eric Vance led the way with 16 kills while setters Travis Bluemling and Sean Pederson had 17 assists apiece. The Highlanders were led by Leonardo Paludo, who had 11 kills and Rodrigo Correa had 23 assists.
“As long as we play hard and everyone’s working together and grooving, no one’s going to beat us,” Vance said.
Northridge dominated game one from the start. The Matadors jumped out to an early 8-2 lead, then increased it to 14-6 and later 24-11. NJIT kept the start of game two close, trailing 16-12 until the Matadors won seven of the next eight sets to take a 21-13 lead. After the Highlanders won two of three sets, the Matadors won the next four sets to lead 26-15 and force a NJIT timeout. The Matadors split the final six sets to take game two.
Game three was more of the same. CSUN held onto a 9-8 lead until it won four of the next six sets to take a 13-10 lead. The Highlanders’ Amobi Armstrong sent a kill down the left boundary line, but the Matadors responded with four wins in the next five sets to take a 17-12 lead, forcing an NJIT timeout. The Matadors held a 21-14 lead when it won five straight points to take a 26-14 lead and CSUN cruised from there.
The Matadors’ sweep of the Highlanders was so quick that the match itself lasted only about one hour. The sweep was also the Matadors’ fourth straight three-game sweep and also increased its winning streak to five matches.
“(We’re) definitely feeling more comfortable playing as a team since we have a new lineup out there, so it’s helping out a lot,” Bluemling said of the Matadors’ recent surge.