Matadors take 2 of 3 matches at UCLA SAC Tournament

Ivan Yeo

In its final tune-up prior to the 2008 season, the CSUN men’s volleyball team had another solid performance in a fall-tournament.

CSUN won two out of three games at UCLA’s SAC Tournament this past weekend, with its last win coming against the host Bruins in four games on Saturday afternoon.

“We just want to continually get better,” head coach Jeff Campbell said. “This tournament had great teams in it and it was an opportunity to get better.”

CSUN won the first two games by scores of 30-27 and 30-24. In game three, CSUN jumped out to an early 6-4 lead. UCLA came back to tie, but the Matadors won five of the next seven points to take an 11-8 lead. The Bruins responded with a 7-4 run to tie the game at 15 and then won two of three points to take the lead. UCLA went on to take a 24-18 lead and kept the match alive with a 30-25 win.

UCLA led 19-13 in game four until CSUN started to chip away at the lead, winning three straight points to cut the lead in half. The Matadors got the lead down to one at 24-23 until the Bruins won consecutive points. Northridge responded with three in a row to tie the game, then later took a 28-27 lead on a block by redshirt freshman middle blocker Cody Loe. The Bruins tied the game on the next set, sophomore outside hitter Mike Gaudino brought the Matadors to game point, the Bruins forced sudden death on the next set, but a kill from junior outside hitter Eric Vance put CSUN back in front and the Matadors wrapped up the match on the next serve. Vance had 23 kills for the Matadors while Loe had 12 kills.

“We calmed down a bit, had fun and played our hearts out,” senior setter Travis Bluemling said of game four.

Earlier on Saturday morning, CSUN was swept by the Long Beach State 49ers. Junior outside hitter Isaac Kneubuhl had 14 kills and Gaudino had 13 kills.

Just 24 hours earlier, the Matadors defeated the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos in four games by scores of 30-22, 30-28, 26-30 and 30-23. Kneubuhl had 20 kills and Vance had 19 kills.

“We’re happy with where were at right now, knowing that we need to continue to get better though. “We will not forget that,” Campbell said.

The Matadors will begin their regular season in January, competing in the UCSB/Elephant Bar InvitationalTournament in Santa Barbara Jan. 4 and 5.